Copper can protect against Alzheimer's disease

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Posted on 15 February 2013

Researchers in The Birchall Centre at Keele University have provided unequivocal evidence that under conditions which are approximately similar to those found in the brain, copper can only protect against beta amyloid forming beta sheets and as such it is highly unlikely that copper is directly involved in the formation of senile plaques in Alzheimer's disease.

The research, published by Nature's online journal Scientific Reports,  may also imply that lower levels of copper in the brain may promote the mechanisms whereby beta amyloid is deposited as senile plaques in Alzheimer's disease.

This research addressed the on-going question as to whether copper in the brain contributes to the formation of the senile plaques in Alzheimer's disease. While previous research at Keele’s Birchall Centre pointed towards copper being potentially protective in preventing the protein beta amyloid from aggregating as beta sheets and forming senile plaques it had remained a controversial issue for some.

The paper is available open access online at;

Further information on this research is available through Professor Chris Exley:


Christopher Exley PhD Professor in Bioinorganic Chemistry The Birchall Centre, Lennard-Jones Laboratories, Keele University, Staffordshire, ST5 5BG, UK Tel: 44 1782 734080; Email:

Honorary Professor, University of the Highlands and Islands