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Alzheimers, Acid Rain, and Aluminum

I would like to recount a series of curious coincidences. The first concerns acid rain. Several years ago stories came out about the trees in the Black Forest of Germany. It seemed the trees were dying. The tops of the trees would die first and eventually the entire tree would die. The affected trees had very high levels of aluminum. They were also attacked by insects. Most of the scientists at the time concluded that the trees were weakened by pulses of acid rain that leached the aluminum out of the soil and this then made the trees vulnerable to attacks by insects. It seemed so logical that if the trees had enormous levels of aluminum that this would perhaps choke off other nutrients. I don’t know any one tried to test this by giving trees massive doses of aluminum to see if this element really weakened the trees. But it was concluded that it was the fault of the acid rain and without such pulses of acidity the trees would be healthy. Okay, now let’s take a look at Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimers and Aluminum

The link with Alzheimers and aluminum is clearly marked but no less puzzling. Like the trees Alzhemers patients have high levels of aluminum in their brains. (The tops go first.) There are numerous articles which seem to indicate that high levels of aluminum in the water supply means increased incidence of Alzheimers in the general populace. Just like the trees the water is the source of the excess aluminum. In Alzhemers aluminum has been more or less exonerated as the culprit. To explain how this happened you have to look at the past.

Dialysis Dementia:

Alzhemers patients have characteristic pattern to their deterioration. They go through stages losing more and more of their memories and abilities. Kidney patients undergoing dialysis used to undergo the same symptoms when aluminum hydroxide (Al OH) was given to prevent clotting.(I am pretty sure that was the reason that Al OH was injected). When animals were injected with Al OH their symptoms too, mimicked Alzhemers. But here’s the rub: When the kidney patients no longer had injections of aluminum hydroxide their symptoms disappeared. When the lab animals that had been injected with aluminum hydroxide were dissected they showed none of the characteristic damage that Alzheimer patients have in their brains. Alzheimer cases have a bundle or warped areas in their brains and holes as well. No matter how scientists tried to implicate aluminum in Alzhemers, other than being an indicator of the disease, they did not succeed. There doesn’t seem to any way to use an aluminum compound to cause the same damage found in Alzhemers patients. Let’s look at the last piece of the puzzle.

Beryllium Aluminum’s Evil Twin:

Alchemists were the precursors of modern chemists. In searching for gold they seemed to find everything else. While perhaps not understanding what they found Alchemists in the Middle Ages did discover many compounds and elements. Certainly to my mind one of their greatest discoveries was the discovery of Beryllium. Why is that so amazing? Beryllium has the atomic number 4. Aluminum has the atomic number 11. They are no where near each other in the periodic table of the elements. The periodic table of elements is arranged according to « families » . Usually this works quite well, for example; the inert gases all have pretty much the same properties, in short if the element is in the same column as an other element these two elements will generally have the same properties or similar characteristics. This system does not work for Beryllium and Aluminum. These two metals react in the same way to the other elements even though they are not in the same column. This means that if you add aluminum something or other to a solution and you get a white parciptate then if you add beryllium something or other to the same solution you again get the same white parciptate. As a matter of fact, there is an uncanny resemblance between Aluminum and Beryllium. As far as I know they differ in only one common reaction: when Aluminum Hydroxide (remember that compound?) is in solution and you introduce carbon dioxide a (catalyst) the aluminum particulate out into a grey compound Al (OH)3 . In the same situation Beryllium Hydroxide would remain in the form Be OH and stay in solution . Did the ancient alchemists discover this reaction? No they didn’t. Well then how did they differentiate Aluminum compounds from Beryllium compounds? By taste, you see to them Beryllium compounds taste sweet. I say to them because I doubt any one has tasted Beryllium compounds in centuries. Why? Beryllium is probably best know as an element of a gem stone; the emerald. But it should be noted that the vast majority of compounds made from Beryllium are poisonous, decidedly so.

A Brief Industrial History of Beryllium Poisoning

After World War II airplane parts were made from alloys of Beryllium. Not much care was taken to control Beryllium dust in the factories. The results were deadly. Beryllium is a rare earth element and this means it is, just like its name suggests, very rare. Humans like other animals on this planet were never exposed to Beryllium in nature. Thus they never use it in their biological processes and have not evolved to handle Beryllium or remove it from their bodies. The workers who got Beryllium dust on their skin had to have the skin removed and new skin grafted in its place. Left untreated the Beryllium caused weird bundles and holes in the skin surface. (Sound familiar?) Those who got Beryllium dust in their lungs died. The severity and rapidity of this industrial disease actually made it easier to believe claims later made for asbestosis.

Wild Guesses

Up to this point in the article I have invented nothing, this has been common knowledge or maybe arcane knowledge. Now I would like to speculate on this subject. Let’s just take the example of acid rain. No one seems to know the exact mechanism causing the death of those trees. Well, I assume that if acid rain leaches Aluminum out of the soil it would have the same effect on Beryllium. Remember they are chemical Gemini. Once Beryllium entered the tree the tree would have the same chance as the industrial workers exposed to Beryllium dust, or to phrase it differently no chance. Now let’s suppose for an instant that the Beryllium is in the form of Be OH. If the tree sensed the excess presence of this compound would you think that the tree might react as it would to too much Al OH and try to remove it from solution? How would the tree do that? This again is pure speculation but I assume that it would use the simplest method which would be to introduce carbon dioxide into the solution . Of course this would not work on the Beryllium hydroxide but any Aluminum Hydroxide would particulate out. Over time you would end up with increasing amounts of Aluminum deposited in the tree and a small amount of Beryllium Hydroxide constantly circulating in the tree. Ironically this process might take out of system the Aluminum Hydroxide that the tree needs for everyday reactions.

Now it is time to look at Alzheimer’s disease. Perhaps the same thing occurs. I assume that the culprit is minute quantities of Beryllium Hydroxide that is behind the blood brain barrier. I assume that the brain again reacts as if there were too much Aluminum Hydroxide and again tries to particulate out the excess. Again you would have large deposits of Aluminum. Perhaps as well the Beryllium would unlike the Aluminum Hydroxide cause damage to the brain. Maybe the Beryllium would cause similar bundles and holes in the brain like it does on the skin in its pure state.

Postscript

This seems to explain everything from acid rain to Alzheimer’s disease. Wait, I could be wrong about Beryllium Hydroxide, after all it is only a hunch. It could be another Beryllium compound. But, I think I have made a case for a little study on the matter. It is true that these are nothing but wild guesses on my part. The argument for beryllium and acid rain would seem to be easy to ascertain. As to Alzheimer’s there are some questions that still puzzle me. It is easy to see that over a long life you could pickup infinitesimally small amounts on Beryllium and when you are sixty or eighty the result would be Alzheimer’s. But there is a problem and that is that children who have mongolism develop Alzheimer’s at forty. So I am wrong right? Well if Alzheimer’s were simply genetic then the amount of Aluminum in the water supply would not indicate increased risk for the disease, but it does. Oh well, maybe exposure to Beryllium Hydroxide has some sort of relationship with mongolism?

Does any one want to give me some lab space and a lab smock?