Aluminum (Al) is widely found in the nature. Although the relation between Al and neurodegenerative diseases is still controversial, Al is related with many brain diseases including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and multiple sclerosis. Al exposure occurs mainly through environment, occupational, and dietary factors for humans. Al exposure with diet can be through foods, food additives, water, and contamination of Al equipment/utensils. The aim of this review is to summarize various hypotheses, which link Al and neurodegeneration, and to determine the roles of Al exposure through different sources including diet, environment, and occupation. Future studies should be done in vulnerable subgroups of population including children, patients receiving antacid or Al-containing pharmeteucials on a daily basis, patients with reduced renal function, and patients on parenteral nutrition regimens that are likely to be affected by possible adverse health effects of Al. In addition, gender, age, and Al interactions need to be determined. One of the most important challanges in future epidemiological studies is to determine which variables should be controlled. In addition, experimental studies should be more focused and translational. In this context, exposure dose, dose-response effects, and time lapse between exposures and cognitive assessments are very important.
Keywords: Aluminum; Alzheimer's disease; Parkinson's disease; multiple sclerosis; neurodegenerative diseases.