By Fredrick Kunkle, Washington Post, Sept. 10, 2015 – A new study suggests that the precursor of an abnormal protein that triggers Alzheimer’s disease could perhaps be transmitted from person to person through the transfer of tissue or certain specialized medical or surgical procedures, its authors said.
Just as some rogue proteins can cause additional rogue proteins to form in the brain, such as the prions that produce mad cow disease, the new findings suggest that there may be a seed that carries the abnormal protein that drives Alzheimer’s disease. The paper was published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
But the study’s lead author took pains to emphasize that the findings do not mean that Alzheimer’s disease is contagious. Other scientists sounded even more cautious, with some expressing deep skepticism about the scope of the study and its findings.