All of my family members have been fortunate to retain their mental abilities into old age. My paternal grandpa lived to 90 years old and was sharp right up until the end. My maternal grandmother lived to 88 and my maternal grandfather, who died at the age of 78, never had a mental health issue. My parents were able to retain their mental faculties until the time of their deaths at 90 and 94. My family is familiar with the pain of dementia. I lost my two aunts, who were both wonderful people whom we loved, due to Alzheimer’s complications. Their deaths were prolonged and horrifying for my Mom’s brothers, whose wives they had been. My sister’s husband died after a ten-year battle with a non-Alzheimer dementia. It doesn’t matter which type of mental decline you are talking about, the fact is that it’s a terrible thing to watch a loved one deteriorate and sometimes even go into a comatose condition.
It was interesting to me to learn that Alzheimer’s has spread via a medical procedure that used to be common (but is no longer).
Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, is caused by an accumulation of amyloid protein in the brain. Risk factors include age, family history, and unhealthy lifestyle behaviors.
According to a UCL release, in a study that was published in Nature Medicine by researchers at the University College London, growth hormone treatment is linked to Alzheimer’s.
Researchers studied patients who were given a form of human growth hormone (c-hGH) that was taken from the pituitary cells of dead people.
Researchers found that c-hGH causes a greater amount of amyloid beta protein in the brain.
It’s easy to blame the medical profession for something like this after the COVID-19 mess. But it’s also important to remember a few things:
The treatment has been discontinued for nearly 40 years. It was abandoned in 1985 after it was discovered that the treatment could spread Creutzfeldt–Jakob (CJD), which can cause dementia, brain damage, and death.
In the development of any new procedure or treatment, there have always been and will always be unforeseeable complications. The reason is that the techniques developed cannot encompass all possible complications and our best models are laughably crude when compared with the complexity of biological systems.
The study also notes that Alzheimer’s is not contagious. This no doubt made many White House employees breathe a huge sigh.
The study also noted that human growth hormone treatment isn’t only the cause of Alzheimer’s.
Christopher Weber, Ph.D., director of global scientific initiatives at the Alzheimer’s Association was not also involved in the UNC’s research, but he reiterated the fact that Alzheimer’s disease is not contagious.
He told Fox News Digital that “you can’t get Alzheimer’s from taking care of someone who has Alzheimer’s.” “Alzheimer’s disease cannot be transmitted through the air or by being near someone who has Alzheimer’s.”
Weber, in analyzing the research, noted some limitations.
He said that based on the few cases examined, they propose the idea of a ‘rarely acquired’ Alzheimer’s. This is a third explanation of the onset of the disease, along with Sporadic Alzheimer’s and Genetic Alzheimer’s.
This is also a cautionary story: before 1985, the administration of human growth hormone to adults and children was a widely accepted treatment. However, it had some very negative side effects. Some doctors administer hormone therapy to children and adults for social reasons and not for medical ones. While we know the long-term effects of this treatment, such as sterility, other effects may not be apparent for 10 years or more.
Animals and biological systems are complex. We will never be able to model all possible complications. It is important to take the advice “First, don’t harm anyone” seriously. Treatment should only be aimed at treating physical ailments, and not social illnesses.