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Population Studies of Association Between Lithium and Risk of Neurodegenerative Disorders

[ Vol. 13 , Issue. 8 ]


Markus Donix and Michael Bauer   Pages 873 - 878 ( 6 )


Background: Lithium shows neuroprotective and neurotrophic effects in vitro and in vivo. Due to its involvement in hippocampal neurogenesis and the interaction with beta-amyloid and neurofibrillary tangle metabolism it has been hypothesized that lithium could have the potential to influence the development of dementia. Method: Using the PubMed database and cross-reference search strategies our aim was to specifically identify population (cohort or case-control) studies investigating the association between lithium and dementia. Results: Data from large cohort studies suggest an association between lithium treatment and dementia risk reduction or reduced dementia severity. Studies with smaller sample sizes yield more variable findings. Conclusions: Lithium may reduce the risk of dementia among middle-aged and older people. Beneficial lithium effects are possibly limited to specific types of neurodegenerative processes.


Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, lithium, neuroprotection, population studies, risk reduction.


Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus, Technische Universität Dresden, 01307 Dresden, Germany.

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