'Bees with Alzheimer’s?' Aluminium pollution linked to dementia in bees

'Bees with Alzheimer’s?' Aluminium pollution linked to dementia in bees




By: Reuters / Heinz-Peter Bader

Published time: June 07, 2015 14:15


The decline in the bee population could be caused by the insect’s high contamination of aluminum, a chemical element implicated as a factor in Alzheimer’s disease in humans, a new study has found.

It’s believed that a number of factors are likely to be involved in the decline of bees: from a lack of flowers to attacks by parasites. But biologists at Keele University and the University of Sussex in the UK decided to find out whether aluminum, the “most significant environmental contaminant of recent times,” could prove to play the key role in the insect’s decline.

Previous research had suggested that when bees forage for nectar they don’t avoid nectar which contains aluminum. So researchers measured the content of aluminum in bee pupae taken from naturally foraging colonies in the UK.

They found levels of the metal content in bee pupae that ranged from 13 to 193 ppm [parts per million.] In humans, brain aluminium content in excess of 3 ppm “might be considered as pathological with possible contributions towards neurodegenerative disease including Alzheimer’s disease,” the study, published in the journal PLOS One, said. (Click here to read) (Watch video here)

Researchers say that a number of human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels resulting in “acid rain” and the mining of aluminium ores to make aluminum metal and salts, have contributed to the thriving biological availability of this “non-essential metal.”

As a result, fish, trees, crops and humans have all been affected by aluminium. Evidence suggests that bees are not immune to its increasing prevalence, with analysis from Brazil having previously indicated that “pollen is heavily contaminated with aluminium.”

“Aluminum is a known neurotoxin affecting behaviour in animal models of aluminum intoxication. Bees, of course, rely heavily on cognitive function in their everyday behaviour and these data raise the intriguing spectre that aluminium-induced cognitive dysfunction may play a role in their population decline – are we looking at bees with Alzheimer’s disease?”said Professor Chris Exley, a leading authority on human exposure to aluminium, from Keele University.


Whether we realized it or not, today we are living in “The Aluminium Age” implying that aluminium is ubiquitous or present everywhere in our daily living. Aluminium is now added to or used in almost everything we eat, drink, inject or absorb. Below are sources of aluminium:

Everyone of us are accumulating aluminium, the neurotoxin in our brain from fetus to our death. Aluminium builds up in the brain until it reaches a “toxic threshold” that triggers memory loss that eventually lead to dementia such as Alzheimers’ Disease.

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