Study shows there is still no evidence that Alzheimer’s disease is contagious – Alzheimer’s Society comment

A new study showed possibilities for the amyloid protein to be transferred through a rare medical procedure that was phased out over 35 years ago.

A study published today in Nature showed that it is possible for the amyloid protein to be transferred to people through a rare medical procedure that was phased out over 35 years ago.

The researchers emphasised that there is no suggestion that Alzheimer’s disease is contagious, or transmissible by current medical procedures such as blood transfusion.

Dr James Pickett, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Society, says:

'This is a scientifically robust study, which shows a small number of people that had this rare growth hormone replacement procedure decades ago likely had the amyloid protein transferred to them.

'We’ve known for a long time that amyloid protein is involved in Alzheimer’s disease, but it is just one component. Although researchers found that some of the people who received this procedure had changes in their brain related to the amyloid protein, they didn’t have Alzheimer’s disease itself.

'The procedure in this study was phased out over 35 years ago, and more modern approaches do not have the same risk of exposure.

'There remains absolutely no evidence that Alzheimer’s disease is contagious.
 

'There are no examples of Alzheimer’s being transmitted from person to person via any current surgical procedures and there is good evidence to show that blood transfusions don’t increase your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

'Alzheimer’s Society has been funding research for 40 years to understand the different components that cause Alzheimer’s and dementia, including amyloid protein, to help us understand this devastating condition better, and one day find a cure.'

Understanding risk factors

What do we mean by risk factors for dementia? A risk factor is something that affects your chance of developing dementia. Find out more about example risk factors and how risks for dementia are identified.

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