How does lithium in drinking water affect the risk of developing dementia?
Doctors have been looking for ways to protect people from dementia for a long time. Researchers have now found that drinking drinking water with an increased lithium content could lead to a lower risk of developing dementia.
The University of Copenhagen scientists found that lithium in drinking water could protect against dementia. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "JAMA Psychiatry".
Scientists are studying the data of over 800,000 subjects for their study
The experts examined over 800,000 participants for their study. The results suggest that the consumption of water with lithium could protect against the development of dementia. Lithium is a normal component in our drinking water, although the amount varies greatly, the researchers explain. The doctors looked at the medical records of 73,731 Danish people with dementia and 733,653 participants without the disease. Tap water was also examined in various areas of the country.
Moderate lithium value increases the risk, high lithium value reduces the risk
The results of the study show that a moderate lithium level (between 5.1 and 10 micrograms per liter) increases the risk of developing dementia by 22 percent compared to lower concentrations of lithium in water (below five micrograms per liter) . Interestingly, however, it was also found that drinking water with the highest lithium level (over 15 micrograms per liter) led to a 17 percent reduction in risk, the scientists explain.
Lithium is used to treat bipolar disorder
This study shows that there is a connection between lithium in drinking water and the incidence of dementia, which should be investigated urgently, the researchers say. A higher long-term exposure to lithium from drinking water could be associated with a lower incidence of dementia. Lithium is known to have an effect on the brain and is also used, for example, to treat bipolar disorder, the authors add.
Lithium changes biological processes in the brain
However, the concentration of lithium in tap water is much lower than for medical use, the experts explain. The experiments have shown that lithium changes a large number of biological processes in the brain.
More studies are needed
The current study showed that lithium appears to have a protective effect against Alzheimer's disease. In addition, lithium is already used to treat people with bipolar disorders. Some research also concluded that this could also be the reason why affected people could be better protected against Alzheimer's disease. More studies now need to check whether regular doses of lithium can prevent the onset of dementia, doctors say. There is currently no drug that can stop, reverse, or slow the progress of dementia. (as)