Whether it’s diet, exercise or air pollution, researchers are constantly investigating lifestyle and environmental factors that may play a role in the progression or prevention of dementia. In recent years, some attention has been paid to lithium found in drinking water as a potential agent in preventing dementia. Now, there’s yet another study examining lithium–which is also used as a medication to treat certain psychiatric disorders–and its potential in battling Alzheimer’s disease.
Lithium is currently used in a clinical setting to lower abnormal activity in the brain, particularly in mood disorders like bipolar disorder. It’s also sometimes prescribed for depression, schizophrenia, impulse control disorders and other mental illnesses.
Researchers from McGill University in Canada honed in on a very small dose of the drug that may hold some benefits in treating neurodegeneration in the brain. When lithium was given in doses 400 times lower than what is currently being prescribed for mental illnesses, it showed promise in slowing down beta-amyloid plaques in the brain — considered to be one of the main drivers of Alzheimer’s.