On July 14, 2015, the researcher--who is based at England's Keele University--launched an online campaign to support a clinical trial examining the impact of aluminum removal on people with Alzheimer's disease. "The People's Trial for the People's Cure," is how he titled the campaign, underscoring the role the online "hive mind" in makingthe trial a reality.
According to the "aluminum hypothesis," exposure to this ubiquitous metal plays a key role in in the etiology of Alzheimer's disease. In a previously published successful pilot study in The Journal of Alzheimer's Disease in 2013, Exley and colleagues showed clinically significant improvements in the cognitive functioning of some Alzheimer's patients after 12 weeks of daily ingestion of silicon-rich mineral water, which supports the excretion of aluminum from the body.
The investigators saw their pilot study as a first step in a much needed rigorous test of the aluminum-Alzheimer's connection, warranting a larger clinical trial with a much bigger patient population (Davenward, et al. J Alzh Dis. 2013; 33(2): 423-430).
Alzheimer's disease is viewed as incurable and irreversible by many in mainstream neurology, and the role of aluminum in the etiology is considered controversial by conventional neurologists dismissing it outright, despite the fact that aluminum is a known neurotoxin. Furthermore, there are no promising drug therapies on the horizon for treating this devastating condition.
Combined these factors make Alzheimer's disease something of a backwater when it comes to research funding. Government institutions have been reluctant to commit significant resources to exploring "fringe" hypotheses.