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Am J Epidemiol. 2009 Feb 15;169(4):489-96. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwn348. Epub 2008 Dec 8.

Aluminum and silica in drinking water and the risk of Alzheimer's disease or cognitive decline: findings from 15-year follow-up of the PAQUID cohort.

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  • 1Division of Biostatistics, Unité 897, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Bordeaux F-33076, France.


The authors examined associations between exposure to aluminum or silica from drinking water and risk of cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer's disease among elderly subjects followed for 15 years (1988-2003). They actively searched for incident cases of dementia among persons aged 65 years or over living in 91 civil drinking-water areas in southern France. Two measures of exposure to aluminum were assessed: geographic exposure and individual exposure, taking into account daily consumption of tap water and bottled water. A total of 1,925 subjects who were free of dementia at baseline and had reliable water assessment data were analyzed. Using random-effects models, the authors found that cognitive decline with time was greater in subjects with a higher daily intake of aluminum from drinking water (>or=0.1 mg/day, P=0.005) or higher geographic exposure to aluminum. Using a Cox model, a high daily intake of aluminum was significantly associated with increased risk of dementia. Conversely, an increase of 10 mg/day in silica intake was associated with a reduced risk of dementia (adjusted relative risk =0.89, P=0.036). However, geographic exposure to aluminum or silica from tap water was not associated with dementia. High consumption of aluminum from drinking water may be a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease.

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