Scientists Investigate Possible Link between Medical Procedures and Alzheimer’s Disease
In a groundbreaking study, scientists are currently investigating if certain medical procedures may be transmitting amyloid plaques that are linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The research suggests that a medical procedure performed on children with growth-related disorders decades ago may have transferred these amyloid plaques, consequently leading to the development of Alzheimer’s later in these patients’ lives.
It is crucial to note that this medical procedure is no longer used due to safety concerns. However, researchers are now digging deeper into whether there is any casual transmission of Alzheimer’s disease between individuals. Initial findings indicate that some patients developed dementia at an early age after receiving injections of a pituitary-derived growth hormone contaminated with brain proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
This revelation has prompted the need for a review of measures to prevent accidental transmissions of Alzheimer’s disease through medical and surgical procedures. Previous studies have already demonstrated that children who were injected with contaminated growth hormone later succumbed to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. However, the new study, led by researchers from the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, has found that recipients of the contaminated growth hormone also developed dementia and biomarker changes consistent with Alzheimer’s disease.
The study identified eight cases where patients exposed to amyloid-beta proteins developed dementia and biomarker changes starting in their 40s—earlier than in most cases of dementia. Additionally, these patients developed neurofibrillary tangles of tau proteins, another marker for Alzheimer’s disease. Consequently, the findings suggest that Alzheimer’s disease, similar to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, may have forms that can be acquired from contaminated medical procedures.
Although further research, including studies of the participants’ brains, is needed to fully understand how contamination with amyloid proteins can lead to the disease, this study highlights the urgent need for increased preventive measures. However, it is important to note that this study does not suggest casual transmission of Alzheimer’s disease between individuals in everyday life.
As scientists continue to uncover potential links between medical procedures and the transmission of Alzheimer’s disease, the medical community must remain vigilant and adaptable in order to provide the highest level of safety for patients.