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Response to headline "You can catch Alzheimer's"

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Response to headline “You can catch Alzheimer’s”

Headlines on Thursday 10th September in the Daily Mirror, the Sun, the Metro, the Daily Mail and the Telegraph claimed that Alzheimer’s disease may be transmitted by surgery and blood transfusions. These were based on a study that looked at the brains of eight people who had died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) following treatment with growth hormone derived from human brain tissue, a treatment no longer used. The researchers found a feature common to Alzheimer’s disease, amyloid protein, but not the disease itself.

Dr Eric Karran, Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK

“There is currently no evidence to suggest that the amyloid protein could be passed through dental surgery or blood transfusions. While it’s unusual for people of the ages studied in this research to have amyloid in the brain, the build-up of this protein is just one feature of Alzheimer’s and we don’t know whether these people would have gone on to develop the disease.”

Document type: For The Record

Published: 10 September 2015

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Source: Sense About Science

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