German scientists have now been able to demonstrate for the first time how the proteins relevant to Alzheimer’s move in the body. This enabled them to answer the question of whether the disease is transmissible – and thus poses a danger to relatives and nursing staff.
Scientists have been discussing for years whether Alzheimer’s is contagious. This would make the disease dangerous for relatives, but also for the nursing staff. German researchers have now checked this thesis – and came to a pleasing result.
The theory was as follows: Alzheimer’s could be a so-called prion disease. Prions are naturally occurring proteins in the body that can clump together as a result of a pathologically altered structure and are deposited in the brain, for example, where they lead to spongy damage. Other examples of prion diseases are BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) in cows or CJD (Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease) in humans, which made headlines a few years ago.
In Alzheimer’s, a protein is also responsible for the disease, the so-called beta-amyloid. But can this also be transferred?
To check this, scientists from the University of Lübeck started a mouse experiment:
However, they found that the toxic beta-amyloid from the diseased animals did not reach the brains of the healthy animals. “This is very good news for relatives and nursing staff,” the scientists write. “According to the results, Alzheimer’s cannot be transmitted when caring for patients.”
The scientists published their results in the journal EMBOreports.
Many people fear developing Alzheimer’s in their lifetime. In many cases, you can influence your risk yourself. Risk factors include the following:
However, not all risk factors can be influenced.
Early detection is often relevant for Alzheimer’s in order to take measures in good time. Symptoms of the disease are as follows.