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Role of Aluminum in Dialysis Dementia

GEORGE DUNEA, F.R.C.P. (Ed.), M.R.C.P., F.A.C.P.; SAKHARAM D. MAHURKAR, M.D.; BASHIR MAMDANI, M.D.; and EARL C. SMITH, M.D., F.A.C.P.
[+] Article and Author Information

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Dr. George Dunea; 1835 West Harrison Street; Chicago, IL 60612.


Chicago, Illinois


© 1978 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1978;88(4):502-504. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-88-4-502
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Between September 1972 and January 1976 an outbreak of dialysis dementia affected 20 patients maintained by long-term hemodialysis. The clinical picture was characterized by an insidious onset of altered behaviour, dementia, speech disturbance, myoclonus, and convulsions. Nineteen patients died, but one patient has survived for 16 months. It was later established that in June 1972 the city had altered its method of water purification and that this resulted in higher water aluminum levels. The temporal relation between periods of high water-aluminum content and the appearance of new cases supports the view that aluminum may play a role in the causation of dialysis dementia.

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