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