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Alzheimer's may be able to spread through blood transfusions

New Scientist

Can you catch Alzheimer's disease? Fear has been growing that the illness might be capable of spreading via blood transfusions and surgical equipment, but it has been hard to find any evidence of this happening. Now a study has found that an Alzheimer's protein can spread between mice that share a blood supply, causing brain degeneration, and suggesting that the disease may transmissible in a similar way to Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease (CJD). We already know from CJD that misfolded proteins can spread brain diseases. Variant CJD can spread through meat products or blood transfusions infected with so-called prion proteins, for example.


Alzheimer's may be able to spread through blood transfusions

New Scientist

Can you catch Alzheimer's disease? Fear has been growing that the illness might be capable of spreading via blood transfusions and surgical equipment, but it has been hard to find any evidence of this happening. Now a study has found that an Alzheimer's protein can spread between mice that share a blood supply, causing brain degeneration. We already know from prion diseases like Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease (CJD) that misfolded proteins can spread brain diseases. Variant CJD can spread through meat products or blood transfusions infected with so-called prion proteins, for example.


Common Infections Might Be Causing Alzheimer's Disease

Popular Science

The root cause of Alzheimer's, a progressive disease that as of 2013 affects some 5 million Americans, is still not completely understood. Researchers know that hallmarks of the disease are tiny balls of plaque that accumulate in Alzheimer's patients' brains. But how and why they form was still pretty much a mystery. Now, researchers at Harvard University, made a surprising finding: Proteins in the brain leftover from fighting off common infections like from a virus or a bacteria, clump together and create the plaque that is ubiquitously found in Alzheimer's patients. The new research, published yesterday in the journal Science, could pave the way to more precise research on how to stop or prevent the disease.


Alzheimer-s-passed-blood-transfusion.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

Daily Mail

Scientists have shown that Alzheimer's-causing proteins can spread through blood. In an unprecedented study, researchers at the University of British Columbia in Canada have shown that healthy who shared blood with a mouse with Alzheimer's plaques did indeed develop plaques of beta-amyloid protein in their blood. The finding emerged from their study which also showed that Alzheimer's could start in other parts of the body - like the liver or kidney - before traveling up to the brain like cancer. However, lead author Professor Weihong Song said people should not be alarmed about Alzheimer's being'caught' by people who have had blood transfusions. For the first time ever, scientists have shown that healthy mice sharing blood from Alzheimer's-suffering mice do develop the disease (file image) He said: 'There will be amyloid protein passed between people through blood transfusions regardless of whether they have Alzheimer's, because amyloid protein can be produced outside the brain.


Alzheimer's may be caused by brain's sticky defence against bugs

New Scientist

The protein plaques in the brain associated with Alzheimer's disease could be created as our immune system fights off invading microbes. Alzheimer's disease has long been linked to the accumulation of sticky plaques of beta-amyloid proteins in the brain, but their function – if any – has remained unclear. "Why does beta-amyloid accumulate in people as they get older? Does it play a role in the brain, or is it just garbage that accumulates," asks Rudolph Tanzi of Harvard Medical School. Tanzi's team has been working with Robert Moir at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston to look at the protein in other animals.