According to British scientists, growth hormone extracted from the pituitary gland previously caused Alzheimer's disease in people who have no genetic predisposition to the disease. Some have developed symptoms as early as age 38.

There are few things you can be happy about with Alzheimer's disease. But it is certainly pleasing that the disease is not contagious. However, it now appears that due to an interplay of unfortunate coincidences, although very rarely, this can happen.

the Natural medicine In a publication in the scientific journal, University College London scientists wrote that some patients who received growth hormone from a deceased donor, which was extracted from a person's pituitary gland, developed early-onset Alzheimer's disease. Specialists believe that all this could have happened because the transported hormone was contaminated with the disease-causing protein – sums up the essence. Watchman.

John Collinge, a researcher at University College London, confirmed that this does not yet mean that Alzheimer's disease can be transmitted from a sick person under normal circumstances, because it is not caused by a bacterial infection or a virus.

According to the researchers, this type of discovery reinforces the assumption that Alzheimer's disease is similar to prion diseases. Prion diseases—including, for example, the rare and fatal idiopathic central nervous system atrophy and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD)—are caused by infectious, defective proteins that spread in the brain. These diseases usually appear spontaneously, but genetic mutations can also be behind their development, but they can also spread through affected brain or nerve tissue.

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Between 1959 and 1985, at least 1,848 patients in the United Kingdom received growth hormone extracted from the pituitary gland of a deceased donor, the researchers wrote. However, this practice was banned in 1985 after it was discovered that some patients had died from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease due to contamination of hormone samples with disease-causing proteins.

A total of 80 such cases have occurred in the UK. A protein called amyloid beta, which is the hallmark of Alzheimer's disease, was also discovered in the brains of some of them after they died. Although it has not been shown that the patients actually developed Alzheimer's disease later, mouse experiments showed that the animals developed the disease later.

A total of eight patients who did not have Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease were examined between 2017 and 2022. In five of them, symptoms of dementia were detected that corresponded to the clinical criteria of Alzheimer's disease, which appeared already at the age of 38 years. Brain scans were conducted on three of the patients, while biomarkers that identified the disease were found in two.

This was in the case of other patients with cognitive difficulties, while cognitive impairment was detected in others. Only one in five patients had a genetic risk for the disease in their DNA.

After summarizing the data, they came to the conclusion that Alzheimer's disease may have developed due to a contaminated hormone from the pituitary gland.

Since the treatment has already been blocked, brain-to-brain transmission of the disease cannot occur again. However, screening can help us understand the progression and nature of the disease.

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