Back in September, researchers in the UK discovered that brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s may be transmissible through certain medical procedures. Skeptical scientists urged caution, but now a different set of autopsy results have shown the same thing.
Alzheimer’s is an all-too-common disease, but the vast majority of Alzheimer’s patients have never had brain surgery like that described here, where prions could be transmitted. If you’re wondering how this study is applicable to the vast majority of the Alzheimer’s population – there’s fear that these prions could be transmitted via blood transfusions, or via contaminated surgical equipment. Having worked in a hospital, such equipment is run through a sterilizer and packaged in a vacuum sealed bag to maintain sterilization.
A provocative new paper published in Nature suggests that neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s may be transmissible through certain medical procedures. It’s an alarming claim—but one that will require more proof if it’s to be accepted by the scientific community.
We already know prion disease can be transmitted via surgical instruments. The supposition is prion diseases are more common and responsible for more neuro-pathology than we have given them credit for. There is no data or evidence – especially not a study of 8 patients who suffered from an incredibly rare neurodegenerative disorder which we don’t fully understand, to support this.
The discovery of antidepressant drugs led to the first biochemical hypothesis of depression, known as the monoamine hypothesis. However, this hypothesis does not seem to fully explain the complexity of human depression. Now a new study offers one more important key that may increase our understanding of the pathogenesis behind clinical depression and neurodegenerative disorders.