Some recent studies in rodents have suggested that lithium may help treat Alzheimer’s disease.
A new study in rats adds to this evidence, showing that a microdose of the compound can halt the progression of this neurodegenerative condition, even in its later stages.
The study found that people exposed to drinking water with higher concentrations of lithium were 17% less likely to develop dementia than people whose water contained barely any lithium.
Since then, other epidemiological, preclinical, and clinical studies have suggested that a microdose of lithium can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by influencing key pathological mechanisms at play in the neurodegenerative condition.
One such study appeared in the journal Translational Psychiatry.
The study found that concentrations of lithium hundreds of times lower than what doctors usually prescribe for psychiatric conditions such as bipolar disorder can help improve early signs of Alzheimer’s in rat models.
Dr. Claudio Cuello — at the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at McGill University in Quebec, Canada — was the senior author of that study.
Now, Dr. Cuello and his research team have set out to examine whether or not microdoses of lithium would have the same beneficial effects at later stages of the condition.