Alzheimer's as a Blood Transfusion Transmissible Disease? You've Got to be Kidding

Khryss | Published 2017-11-17 01:31

Can a person transmit Alzheimer’s disease to another one? Well, that's long know to be true in terms of the passing of genes...

Alzheimer Society of Toronto

Similar diseases like the Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) are caused by misfolded protein spreading throughout the brain. As for Alzheimer’s, the misfolded protein is called beta-amyloid. Plaques of beta-amyloid accumulates in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, but scientist still aren’t sure of the plaques are a symptom or the cause of it.

Previous evidence shows that beta-amyloids can spread through people. In the 1950s, people with a growth disorder were being treated by a growth hormone taken from cadavers or corpses.  Many of those people have developed Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease later in their lives. But after they died, it’s discovered that those people have also developed Alzheimer’s plaques, even at early middle age.

The researchers have expressed concern on how some surgical procedures like blood transfusions may have helped spread misfolded protein through people. Since the mice don’t naturally develop Alzheimer’s, the researchers used mice with a gene that makes the human version of the beta-amyloid protein. They then surgically attached healthy mice with those that has beta-amyloid plaques, in a way that the two mice shared a blood system.

The results of their study showed that healthy mouse stitched with a mouse that had Alzheimer’s plaques eventually develop the same plaques in their brains. In this process, the healthy mouse’s brain tissue then starts dying, showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease. This means Alzheimer’s disease may be transferred via beta-amyloids in blood. “The protein can get into the brain from a connected mouse and cause neurodegeneration,” says author Weihong Song at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

However, it’s still too soon to conclude that Alzheimer’s is a transmissible disease, according to the researchers. There’s even a study that patients that have undergone blood transfusions with blood from people with Alzheimer’s didn’t have any greater risk of the disease developing.

Also, who would want to stitch people together just so they can have a shared blood system?

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