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We have investigated the elemental content of hippocampal slices from normal human brain and from brains of Alzheimer's disease patients by X-ray fluorescence using both electron and proton beam microprobes. The sections have been stained with a dye--toluidine blue--which contains sulphur so that the X-ray fluorescence map can be correlated with known intracellular sites as seen under the light microscope. The results show that associated with neurofibrillary tangles and Hirano bodies (the distinctive internal visual features of cells from Alzheimer's disease patients) there is increased calcium. We cannot confirm that there are peculiarities in the distribution of aluminium in cells.

Original publication




Journal article


Ciba Found Symp

Publication Date





201 - 210


Alzheimer Disease, Cell Nucleus, Electron Probe Microanalysis, Humans, Neurofibrillary Tangles, Spectrometry, X-Ray Emission