Alzheimer’s, other disorders show similarity to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and other prion infections
Z. Jaunmuktane et al/Nature 2015
In some brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, distorted proteins behave like infectious agents, spreading among brain cells and corrupting other proteins. New studies suggest that such diseases should be classified among disorders caused by the infectious particles known as prions.
Classic prion infections, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, are fatal. Some scientists hope that recasting Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative disorders as prion diseases may help reveal ways to halt or prevent neural destruction. Yet others caution that this radical reclassification may unnecessarily evoke fear.
Mindful of public panic, researchers are quick to say that there is no evidence that Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases can be transmitted through normal everyday contact. “There is not one iota of evidence whatsoever that infectivity can occur from one individual to another,” says cell biologist and neuroscientist