President Ronald Reagan designated November as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month in 1983. At the time, fewer than 2 million Americans had Alzheimer’s; today, the number of people diagnosed (and still alive) with the disease has soared to nearly 5.4 million. The X factor is the millions who are going undiagnosed and misdiagnosed.
Mayors in cities around the nation are declaring November Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness and Caregivers Month.
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause, and the fastest-growing cause, of death in the United States (and the world), which has some of the highest rates of Alzheimer’s disease in the world. Finland, Sweden and Iceland also are at the top of the list. However, states such as Washington, North Dakota and South Dakota rival the rates found in Scandinavian countries.
Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s disease is going undiagnosed and misdiagnosed at an escalating pace. Many people, for example, have had diagnoses withheld by their doctors. The epidemic is more widespread than anyone knows. Physicians have withheld millions of diagnoses from patients and their families. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, physicians in the U.S. only inform 45 percent of patients about their Alzheimer’s diagnosis. The same suppression is likely at work in most countries. Meanwhile, millions more go undiagnosed and misdiagnosed.
A groundbreaking study suggested that Alzheimer’s disease causes six times as many deaths as the official statistics would indicate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that, in 2010, Alzheimer’s caused almost 84,000 deaths in the United States, a number derived from death certificates in which Alzheimer’s disease was listed as the main cause. But, in reality, the study said Alzheimer’s was the underlying cause in more than 500,000 deaths in 2010 that were often attributed to conditions, such as pneumonia, caused by complications of Alzheimer’s. Those numbers make Alzheimer’s disease the third-leading cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease and cancer. The study was led by researchers at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and published in 2013 in the medical journal Neurology.
Meanwhile, no one is talking about the fact that most forms of neurodegenerative disease, including Alzheimer’s disease, is transmissible. Spouses of those with Alzheimer’s disease, for example, are 600 percent more likely to contract the disease. Other caregivers also are in harm’s way. In fact, entire communities are at risk of exposure.
According to neuroscientists Dr. Laura Manuelidis, at least 25 percent of Alzheimer’s diagnoses are not Alzheimer’s disease. These misdiagnoses are actually CJD, which is further up the prion spectrum. CJD, without dispute, is extremely infectious to caregivers and loved ones but it has not been declared a reportable disease in the U.S. and many other nations. Millions of cases of deadly CJD are being misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s disease. Millions of patients and caregivers are being misinformed, misguided and exposed to an aggressive disease. Misdiagnosis and misinformation regarding prion disease is a matter of life and death. The disease is now striking young people, including teenagers, with much greater frequency. It’s also killing clusters of people in the same communities with greater frequency.
It’s not known which patients with brain disease become infectious or when, but both CJD and Alzheimer’s patients are being mismanaged. Informed neurologists won’t touch patients with these symptoms because of the risk of transmission. They are making diagnoses from across the room.
On average, Alzheimer’s follows a 14-year course from onset of symptoms until death. For most patients, symptoms go undiagnosed and untreated for at least seven years. For most patients, symptoms go undiagnosed and untreated for at least seven years, during which time the lesions spread through the brain and cause irreparable damage, said Dennis Fortier, author of the Brain Today blog.
“With a good diet, physical exercise, social engagement, and certain drugs, many patients (especially those detected at an early stage) can meaningfully alter the course of Alzheimer’s and preserve their quality of life,” Fortier said. “No cure does not mean that there is no treatment.”
The health of the brain is affected by our overall health. Research shows that high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity increase the risk for cognitive decline. A healthy brain requires strong blood flow and plenty of oxygen.
Meanwhile, we can’t forget that:
We can’t ignore that the global Alzheimer’s disease epidemic and the autism epidemic both began to rise in the late 1970s. They proceeded to spike dramatically in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The spikes in autism and Alzheimer’s disease are almost identical in terms of timing and trajectory. The surge in chronic wasting disease among deer also follows the same trend. These devastating diseases are symptoms of a much bigger problem associated with toxic and infectious waste. Industry policies and practices changed dramatically, which triggered an explosion in brain disease.
According to a 2010 study by the Centers for Disease Control, Utah, North Carolina and New Jersey have the highest rates of autism. ASD strikes one in every 32 Utah boys, and one in every 85 girls. In New Jersey, one in every 28 boys has ASD. The numbers are likely still rising.
Read more about the autism epidemic and its connection to infectious proteins and other neurotoxins that are spreading through biosolids and wastewater reclamation. Please contact us to share your insights, opinions and support for critical reforms.
Gary Chandler is a prion expert. He is the CEO of Crossbow Communications, author of several books and producer of documentaries about health and environmental issues around the world. Chandler is connecting the dots to the global surge in neurodegenerative disease, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, chronic wasting disease and other forms of prion disease. The scientific name for prion disease is transmissible spongiform encephalopathy. The operative word is “transmissible.” Even the global surge in autism appears to be related.