'No cause for concern' after study links Alzheimer's transmission with hormone treatment from human donors

Alzheimer's Society researchers say there is 'no cause for concern' after a study presented a possible link between Alzheimer's disease transmission and a hormone treatment from human donors that was used in the 1980s.

Our research team suggests there is “no cause for concern” for the general public, after a small study raised questions around a potential link between Alzheimer's disease and a human growth hormone treatment that was last used in the 1980s.

Rare and unusual transmission route

Dr Richard Oakley, Associate Director of Research and Innovation at Alzheimer’s Society, said:   

“This study provides evidence of an extremely rare and unusual route through which Alzheimer’s disease could potentially have been transmitted to some patients after they received human growth hormone from deceased donors’ brains. 

“However, it is not known how common Alzheimer’s transmission was in the 1,800 people who had this treatment and the study only looked at the records of eight people. 

With the treatment not used since 1985, there is no cause for concern for the health of the general population. 

“Nowadays, patients receive synthetic alternatives which have been approved for safety and do not pose a risk of transmitting diseases.”   

No evidence Alzheimer's can be transmitted through routine care

“There are no safety concerns with today’s treatments as they were developed to minimise the risk of any transmissible diseases. 

Crucially, there is also no evidence that Alzheimer’s disease can be transmitted in the context of daily life activities, or routine care.  

“If you have concerns about yourself or a loved one, Alzheimer’s Society is here to provide advice and support. Our free symptoms checklist can be accessed via our website.”    

Checklist for possible dementia symptoms

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