If all the iron in the human body is taken out, one can make a small nail. But copper deposits found in the body are enough to make a small earring.
Two metals are important to the human body
Despite the small amount in our bodies, these two metals are essential for our health, as they play an important part in the human body like growth and metabolism. Although there's one place that would not even normally find both, and that's our brain cells, reported Science Alert.
However, for people with Alzheimer's disease, these elements are transformed into microscopic ingots. Researchers in the US and UK detected the presence of copper and iron using a form of X-ray microscopy (STXM) on samples of neural plaques from parts of the frontal and temporal lobes of Alzheimer's sufferers. Plaques, which are made up of proteins broken into beta-amyloid, are a common feature of this kind of dementia.
Most of the treatments are for clearing these clumps of the beta-amyloid but have not brought anyone closer to an effective way to cure the disease. This prompts the thought that perhaps they are part of the destructive degenerative disease.
More details about the problem
Specialists are attempting to piece together the biology that may be accountable for the lesions. They are investigating the formation of deposits of copper and magnetic iron, which may lead to a tendency to disintegrate the brain tissue.
The toxic effect of biomineralization, or the accumulation of minerals like hematite in neurons, is such an angle that hasn't been thoroughly addressed, cited Nature. Iron is a helpful method to distribute oxygen around the body since it is retained as a charged ionic form within hemoglobin. The neural network is among the few locations in the body that is in desperate need of oxygen.
When broken down from the protein shell, it can cause problems. Iron is in labile form, a reactive kind of oxygen that can affect the delicate biochemistry of the brain and can end up destroying cells. In turn, this can cause problems within the body. This labile oxygen is connected to dementia-related disease as mentioned by NCBI.
Copper also has protein shield-like iron, and just like iron can be a threat to brain tissue in their labile form without the protein layer covering them.
A research team from Keele University in the UK did a study based on iron and copper in amyloid plaque cores, from two Alzheimer's patients.
Results of the study show that the deposits of iron and copper were found in metallic form, and deposited inside the amyloid tissue. Several more details like how both metals affected other chemicals as well.
Researchers are looking into the link between the presence of these metals and cell inflammation and even cell death. Magnetic mineral magnetite is found in the human body is when one is deceased, but now living subjects have copper in them as detected in brain cells. Finding deposits of copper and magnetic iron is the beginning of further studies that will give researchers insight into Alzheimer's disease.
Related article: How Coronavirus Infection Starts in the Body, Leading to Death