Scientists have shown that trace amounts of mercury can cause the type of damage  

to nerves that is characteristic of the damage found in Alzheimer’s disease. The level  

of mercury exposure used in the test was well below those levels found in many  

humans with mercury/silver amalgam dental fillings. The research conducted at the  

University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine fond that exposure to mercury caused the  

formation of “neurofibrillar tangles,” which are one of the two diagnostic markers  

for Alzheimer’s disease. Previous research has shown that mercury can cause the  

formation of the other Alzheimer’s disease marker, “amyloid plaques.” The  

scientists also exposed the test nerves to other elements, including aluminum, but  

found that only mercury caused the damage consistent with Alzheimer’s disease.


The research, published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, is accompanied by a video visual presentation of the effect. Utilizing digital time-lapse photography, this video shows rapid damage to the nerve cells after introduction of minute amounts of mercury. Funding for this video was provided by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT).

 This video will be available to media contacts (only) through:

Miss Karen Thomas, Media Relations, University of Calgary, Faculty of Medicine, 403-220-2945, 403-210-8141 Fax,       

 Media Embargo Date:   26 March 2001

Title:   “Retrograde Degeneration of Neurite Membrane Structural Integrity of Nerve Growth Cones Following In Vitro Exposure to Mercury”

Authors:   Leong, CW; Syed, NI; Lorscheider, FL

Journal:   NeuroReport, 12(4):733-737,2001


Murlene Brake