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Intake Of Dietary Copper Helps Alzheimer's Patients

October 4, 2005
Case Western Reserve University
As one of the services for patients with Alzheimer's disease, the Department of Psychiatry at the Saarland University Medical Center offers participation in a clinical phase II trial. This clinical trial aims to elucidate a potential beneficial effect of copper orotate (an organic copper salt), which is given together with a standard cholinesterase inhibitor. A diagnosis of mild to moderate dementia of the Alzheimer type is a prerequisite.
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Treatmentstarts after all prerequisites to participate have been met. Half ofthe patients receive 8 mg copper orotate per day, the other half aplacebo. Both patients and psychiatrists are blinded. During the12-month long double-blind phase, there will be extensive laboratory,clinical and neuropsychological tests. After the double-blind phase, weoffer an open-label phase for all patients. At present, 15 patientshave finished the double-blind phase. The copper medication is welltolerated.

Alzheimer is characterized by the presence of amyloidplaques, which are composed primarily of Aß peptide. Aß is producedwithin neurons and is liberated from the larger amyloid ß proteinprecursor (AßPP). Lower levels of copper have been reported in thebrain of AßPP transgenic mice and post-mortem in AD patients. Thisconcept has been found to be true also in vitro by Professor Dr. GerdMulthaup (FU Berlin) in 1999. Two recent papers, which have beenpublished in PNAS in 2003 have proven a beneficial effect of elevatedcopper in transgenic AßPP mice. In the present study, the teams led byBayer and Multhaup have found that low copper level in blood correlateswith advanced memory deficits, as tested by the well establishedADAS-cog neuropsychological test battery. Patients with higher bloodcopper levels make fewer mistakes in this memory test. This resultsupports the notion of a mild copper deficiency in AD patients. Anincreased uptake of dietary copper may therefore be therapeuticallyrelevant.


The study has been published in the September2005 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, Volume 8, Issue 1published by IOS Press: "Cognitive decline correlates with low plasmaconcentrations of copper in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer'sdisease" (JAD, Vol. 8, Issue 1).

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Case Western Reserve University. "Intake Of Dietary Copper Helps Alzheimer's Patients." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 October 2005. <>.
Case Western Reserve University. (2005, October 4). Intake Of Dietary Copper Helps Alzheimer's Patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 26, 2015 from
Case Western Reserve University. "Intake Of Dietary Copper Helps Alzheimer's Patients." ScienceDaily. (accessed April 26, 2015).

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