A higher level of copper in the brain may help to prevent the formation of harmful protein deposits linked to the development of Alzheimer's disease.
It has long been acknowledged that a buildup of these amyloid beta plaques in the brain is a contributory factor in the onset of the neurodegenerative condition.
Recently, a school of thought has emerged suggesting the amount of copper present can both limit and increase the production of amyloid beta, depending on the concentration of the metal ions.
However, scientists from Keele University in Staffordshire have found evidence to "irrevocably" prove that copper helps to protect against the plaques forming in the brain, thus reducing the chances of a patient developing Alzheimer's disease.
The team, led by Dr Chris Exley, has also discovered indications a lack of copper may stimulate the mechanisms in the brain that produce amyloid beta.
Their research has been published in the latest edition of the Scientific Reports journal.
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