Growth Hormone Used in Decades-Old Medical Procedures Linked to Alzheimer’s, Study Finds

London, UK – Researchers at the University College London have made a groundbreaking discovery, linking the development of Alzheimer’s disease to a specific medical treatment for the first time. The study, published in Nature Medicine, reveals a connection between growth hormone treatments and the onset of Alzheimer’s.

Typically, Alzheimer’s has been associated with internal factors, such as age, family history, and unhealthy lifestyle behaviors. However, this study shifts the understanding of the disease by identifying a potential external trigger.

During the study, researchers found that eight individuals who had received a particular type of human growth hormone during childhood developed symptoms of dementia later in life. This growth hormone, c-hGH, was extracted from the pituitary glands of deceased individuals and was found to lead to an increase in amyloid-beta protein in the brain.

The researchers emphasized that Alzheimer’s disease cannot be transmitted through routine medical care or daily activities. The patients in the study had received the growth hormone through a now-obsolete medical treatment, which involved repeated exposure to contaminated material over several years.

The study suggests the potential existence of a “rare acquired” form of Alzheimer’s, posing a third explanation for the disease alongside sporadic Alzheimer’s and genetic Alzheimer’s. However, it is important to note that the study population was small, and further research is needed to confirm this possible third type of Alzheimer’s.

The findings of this research carry important implications for medical practices, emphasizing the need for rigorous sterilization of surgical instruments to prevent any accidental transmission of disease-related proteins. Despite the rare nature of the transmission identified in this study, it highlights the need for comprehensive measures to ensure the elimination of all potential paths for pathogen transmission.

In conclusion, the discovery of a potential link between a specific medical treatment and the development of Alzheimer’s disease signifies a fundamental shift in the understanding of the disease. This discovery prompts the scientific and medical communities to reevaluate existing practices to ensure the prevention of any inadvertent introduction of disease-related proteins into individuals’ brains.