Tags: alzheimers | spread | medical | procedures

Alzheimer's Contagious? Study: Spread by Medical Procedures

Image: Alzheimer's Contagious? Study: Spread by Medical Procedures

One hemisphere of a healthy brain, left, is pictured next to one hemisphere of a brain of a person suffering from Alzheimer's disease. (REUTERS/Denis Balibouse)

By    |   Wednesday, 27 Jan 2016 07:04 AM

Alzheimer's does not appear to be contagious in any traditional sense of the word, but a new study suggests it may be spread through medical procedures.

"What we need to consider is that in addition to there being sporadic Alzheimer’s disease and inherited or familial Alzheimer’s disease, there could also be acquired forms of Alzheimer’s disease," said study author John Collinge, a professor of neurology at University College London, according to the New York Post.

The study, published in the journal Nature this past September, shows some evidence that Alzheimer's could be seeded through blood transfusions or tissue grafts that come from donors.

That diseased blood or tissue can then seed the abnormal protein that causes Alzheimer's to grown in the brain.

Worse is the finding of evidence that suggests that the protein can also contaminate surgical instruments and metal surfaces. It's been found to be resistant to typical sterilization methods, as well.

"You could have . . . different ways you have these protein seeds generated in your brain," said Collinge. "Either they happen spontaneously, an unlucky event as you age, or you have got a faulty gene or you’ve been exposed to a medical accident."

For the study, Collinge did autopsy studies of eight patients who died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a brain disorder caused by defective proteins. They died after being exposed to contaminated growth factor.

"This is an observational study," Collinge said, explaining that follow up studies are needed. "We’re simply describing what we see in these patients and we are trying to explain that."

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Alzheimer's does not appear to be contagious in any traditional sense of the word, but a new study suggests it may be spread through medical procedures.
alzheimers, spread, medical, procedures
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2016-04-27
Wednesday, 27 Jan 2016 07:04 AM
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