Published On: Thu, Sep 10th, 2015

Alzheimer’s disease infectious? Researchers suggest in study

Can Alzheimer’s disease be passed on from person-to-person by such means as blood transfusions or contaminated surgical instruments? New research from scientists from the Department of Neurodegenerative Disease at University College London (UCL) point to this conclusion.

Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD)- photomicrograph of brain tissue reveals the presence of typical amyloid plaques/CDC

Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD)- photomicrograph of brain tissue reveals the presence of typical amyloid plaques/CDC

The new study, published in the journal, Nature, show that during autopsies of eight people who died from the prion disease, Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD), contracted via human growth hormone decades ago, show the amyloid pathology that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

The head of the Department of Neurodegenerative Disease at UCL John Collinge said, “This relates to a very special situation where people have been injected with, essentially, extracts of human [brain] tissue. You can’t catch Alzheimer’s disease by taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s disease.”

“This is the first evidence of real-world transmission of amyloid pathology,” says molecular neuroscientist John Hardy of University College London (UCL). “It is potentially concerning.”

Misfolding of the amyloid-beta proteins is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s. However, the eight patients studied, who were aged between 36 and 51 when they died, were too to have so much amyloid in their brains.

From 1958 until 1985, when the dangers were first realized, around 30,000 people worldwide had hGH injected into their muscles — mostly children who had not been growing at a normal rate. The preparations comprised pooled material extracted from thousands of cadavers. Some extracts turned out to have been contaminated with CJD prions, leading to 226 deadly infections by 2012, mostly in France (119 cases), Britain (65 cases) and the United States (29 cases). Numbers are still creeping up, because CJD has a long incubation period.

The research will require additional follow-up studies. “This is an observational study,” Collinge says. “We’re simply describing what we see in these patients and we are trying to explain that.” This study alone, he says, does not suffice to prove that the Alzheimer’s disease process can be induced in one individual through contact with another’s brain tissue. In a follow-up study, the researchers are hoping to obtain archived batches of the cadaver-derived human growth hormone to look for the presence of telltale, small clusters of amyloidbeta.

However, the new study “reinforces what many in the field have been thinking for a while, and that is that we need to prevent the accumulation of these proteins in the brain if we are to do anything substantive about Alzheimer’s disease,” says Lary Walker, a neuroscientist at Emory University and the Yerkes National Primate Research Center.





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- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. Terry S. Singeltary Sr. says:

    all iatrogenic cjd is, is sporadic cjd, until the iatrogenic event is discovered, traced back, documented, put into the academic domain, and then the public domain. due to lack of trace back efforts of said iatrogenic events, this very seldom happens.

    please be aware, sporadic cjd is not a single strain, but many strains, and they are mounting, of CJD, that the route and source of the sporadic cjd agent has not yet been identified. spontaneous TSE prion disease has never been proven under natural conditions in man or animal…also, sporadic CJD has now been linked to sheep scrapie and BSE in cattle, and much concern has come out of the PRION2015 conference.

    transmission studies on humans will never happen in a clinical trial.

    I lost my mother to the hvCJD of the sporadic CJD strains, and have been following the science daily since that day 12/14/97. just made a promise to mom, never forget, and never let them forget.

    I urge you to first read this old study from the late great Dr. Gibbs NIH. maybe read it twice to fully get the grasp of what you/we might be dealing with i.e. iatrogenic transmission. …


    Transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease to a chimpanzee by electrodes contaminated during neurosurgery.

    Gibbs CJ Jr, Asher DM, Kobrine A, Amyx HL, Sulima MP, Gajdusek DC.

    Laboratory of Central Nervous System Studies, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.

    Stereotactic multicontact electrodes used to probe the cerebral cortex of a middle aged woman with progressive dementia were previously implicated in the accidental transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) to two younger patients. The diagnoses of CJD have been confirmed for all three cases. More than two years after their last use in humans, after three cleanings and repeated sterilisation in ethanol and formaldehyde vapour, the electrodes were implanted in the cortex of a chimpanzee. Eighteen months later the animal became ill with CJD. This finding serves to re-emphasise the potential danger posed by reuse of instruments contaminated with the agents of spongiform encephalopathies, even after scrupulous attempts to clean them.


    α-Synuclein deposits in the brainstems of inoculated mice.

    No competing interests declared.

    *** Singeltary comment ***


    Alzheimer’s, iatrogenic, transmissible, tse, prion, what if ?

    Wednesday, September 9, 2015

    Evidence for human transmission of amyloid-β pathology and cerebral amyloid angiopathy


    Wednesday, September 2, 2015

    Clinically Unsuspected Prion Disease Among Patients With Dementia Diagnoses in an Alzheimer’s Disease Database


    Tuesday, September 1, 2015

    Evidence for α-synuclein prions causing multiple system atrophy in humans with parkinsonism


    *** Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease *** Public Health Crisis VIDEO



    Diagnosis and Reporting of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

    Singeltary, Sr et al. JAMA.2001; 285: 733-734. Vol. 285 No. 6, February 14, 2001 JAMA

    Diagnosis and Reporting of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

    To the Editor: In their Research Letter, Dr Gibbons and colleagues1 reported that the annual US death rate due to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) has been stable since 1985. These estimates, however, are based only on reported cases, and do not include misdiagnosed or preclinical cases. It seems to me that misdiagnosis alone would drastically change these figures. An unknown number of persons with a diagnosis of Alzheimer disease in fact may have CJD, although only a small number of these patients receive the postmortem examination necessary to make this diagnosis. Furthermore, only a few states have made CJD reportable. Human and animal transmissible spongiform encephalopathies should be reportable nationwide and internationally.

    Terry S. Singeltary, Sr Bacliff, Tex

    1. Gibbons RV, Holman RC, Belay ED, Schonberger LB. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in the United States: 1979-1998. JAMA. 2000;284:2322-2323.


    Singeltary publishing’s …


    Terry S. Singeltary Sr. Galveston Bay

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