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New Study Finds Alzheimer’s Can Pass Human to Human in Rare Medical Procedures

A recent research study indicates that Alzheimer's disease can potentially be transmitted among humans through uncommon medical procedures.

New Study Finds Alzheimer’s Can Pass Human to Human in Rare Medical Procedures

A new study has found that Alzheimer’s disease can be spread among humans through rare medical procedures. 

The new study was published in the journal Nature Medicine. 

The research found that some people acquired the condition when a toxic protein that is known to cause Alzheimer's is transmitted from deceased donors to humans.

Experts say that the disease cannot be spread through everyday activities. 

A group of people who received the growth hormone from the pituitary gland of deceased donors have developed an early onset of Alzheimer’s disease because these hormones contained the same proteins that seeded the disease in their brains. 

Experts said that these hormone treatments have been banned for this reason. 

“We're not suggesting for a moment you can catch Alzheimer's disease. This is not transmissible in the sense of a viral or bacterial infection”, said Professor John Collinge, co-author of the study. 

“It's only when people have been accidentally inoculated, essentially, with human tissue or extracts of human tissue containing these seeds, which is thankfully a very rare and unusual circumstance,” he added. 

Between 1958 and 1985 short children in the UK and US were given hormones harvested from Cadavers to help them in their growth. However, in some cases, the hormones contained prions that led to a fatal and an incurable brain disorder called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).

This procedure has now been banned and instead synthetic hormones were brought in use that didn’t carry the risk of transmitting CJD. 

Prions kill neurons and accumulate in the brain. They are also believed to survive sterilisation methods and thus surgical and medical procedures carry the risk of spreading the disease. Accumulation of these proteins in and around neurons is believed to cause Alzheimer’s disease. 

Professor John Collinge, of University College London, said, “These patients were given a specific and long-discontinued medical treatment which involved injecting them with material now known to have been contaminated with disease-related proteins.

'We are now planning to look at ways of destroying prions from surgical equipment, as they can resist normal decontamination methods.”