I have not only heard the soda can theory since I was a kid, but more recently when researching the topic I have found many websites that claim pans made of aluminum and antiperspirants are correlated to Alzheimer's.

Mercola.com is one such website that lists all three.

Of more practical importance is a case-control study which looked at the association of AD and lifetime exposure to aluminum in antiperspirants and antacids. Scientists found a direct correlation. The more antiperspirant that was used, the more likely the person would develop AD. The same held true for aluminum antacids. [...]

Science still has quite a few years of research before it can definitely state that aluminum causes AD. However, the above items of evidence should encourage us to limit our aluminum intake if we hope to avoid this horribly devastating illness.

  • 1
    I edited this question to weaken the claim to correlation because the site referenced did not claim causation. You give this site as an example - perhaps you have another notable example that DOES claim causation? If so, please edit it in and we can make the claim stronger again.
    – Oddthinking
    Oct 24, 2013 at 6:32
  • You quoted Mercola.com. Wikipedia writes: "Mercola has been criticized by business, regulatory, medical, and scientific communities. A 2006 BusinessWeek editorial stated his marketing practices relied on 'slick promotion, clever use of information, and scare tactics.' In 2005, 2006, and 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Mercola and his company to stop making illegal claims regarding his products' ability to detect, prevent, and treat disease." Mar 31, 2017 at 16:18
  • Some of the stuff he writes is true, but surely not all. Do continue to be skeptical while browsing his website. :) Mar 31, 2017 at 16:18

2 Answers 2


TLDR; We don't really know.

WebMD has a good summary of the current state of science on this topic:

One of the most publicized and controversial theories concerns aluminum, which became a suspect in Alzheimer's disease when researchers found traces of this metal in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease. Many studies since then have either not been able to confirm this finding or have had questionable results.

The idea that aluminum is correlated to Alzheimer's disease came about when autopsies found elevated amounts of aluminum in the brains of diseased Alzheimer's patients. As as demonstrated in this study)

Five of 6 cerebral biopsies from patients with Alzheimer's disease also had elevated aluminium content. In 2 additional Alzheimer's brains with neurofibrillary degeneration restricted to certain anatomical areas, elevated aluminium content was found to be associated with neurofibrillary degeneration and not with senile plaques. Furthermore, elevated aluminium content in multiple cortical regions was not found in 2 vascular dementias of the elderly. While the cytotoxic concentration for human neurons is unknown, the cytotoxic concentration for cat's cerebral neurons appears to lie between 4 and 6 mug/g dry weight.

However, critics point out that the elevated aluminum levels did not occur in all cases, suggesting that, even if aluminum is correlated, it cannot be blamed as a single cause.

Other studies have failed to show a correlation (although that might be expected if aluminum is not the only cause). This study, for instance, found no statistical correlation:

There were no statistically significant differences in brain aluminum concentration between the 10 patients with Alzheimer disease, and the 9 nonneurological controls.

Studies continue along these lines, and many studies do seem to find a correlation, but since it's difficult to do direct tests on such a matter on living human brains, proxy tests must be done (on animals, or other experimental areas). This of course, leads to criticism.

Some such studies:

And of course, there are accusations of a cover-up by government and/or the aluminum industry.

  • Wasn't there a definitive study proving that the aluminium content in brains was an experimental artefact of the analysis technique? I'm sure there has been a definitive refutation of the supposed link to Alzheimers.
    – matt_black
    Oct 24, 2013 at 17:32
  • Link to NY Times report about aluminium in brain tissue being an artefact is here: nyti.ms/H53pbn
    – matt_black
    Oct 24, 2013 at 20:55
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    @matt_black: I saw reference to that as a possible criticism... If that were the case, one might expect studies that found a correlation to find aluminum in all the samples, not just some (as the one I provided). Besides, nothing in science is ever "definitive." In my experience, anyone who ever says they have a definitive scientific answer is pushing an agenda.
    – Flimzy
    Oct 24, 2013 at 22:04
  • Varying experimental technique could easily create that variation. If a reliable technique doesn't find Al in samples from diseased patients that is strong evidence the correlation is an artefact not a reliable observation.
    – matt_black
    Apr 4, 2018 at 8:53

And yet, a different media publication claims a complete opposite (no link between Alzheimer and aluminium whatsoever):


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    Welcome to Skeptics!. This is possibly a good start to an answer, but it needs expanding. We are looking for definitive answers, and this is currently "he said/she said". Which side has the empirical evidence to support it?
    – Oddthinking
    Oct 24, 2013 at 6:30

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