Neurological diseases known collectively as dementia are the fastest-growing cause of death in the world. The epidemic is spreading exponentially because of misinformation and mismanagement within every nation. Patients, caregivers, family members and millions of other stakeholders deserve the truth.
Only a decade ago, the idea that Alzheimer’s disease might be transmissible between people would have been laughed away. But scientists have now shown that tissues can transmit symptoms of the disease between animals. A new study published in the journal Nature raises additional concern about the transmissibility of Alzheimer’s disease between people. The impact of such research is profound.
Most of us know dementia as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. They’re all part of the same disease spectrum. It’s negligent not to treat them all as extremely transmissible diseases.
Dementia is vastly undiagnosed and misdiagnosed. Unfortunately, doctors are withholding millions of additional diagnoses, so we don’t know the extent of the epidemic. Mismanagement on many levels is an outrage.
For example, former U.S. President Ronald Reagan died in 2004 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. His death certificate, however, listed pneumonia as the cause of death. Attributing Alzheimer’s deaths to other causes is common. Such practices are masking the body count with labels. The actual numbers are staggering and they will continue to escalate. The burden on unprepared families is surging.
Despite underreporting, we know that about 50 million people around the world already have Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Millions of other victims have already died. The global burden of dementia care in 2015 is estimated at $818 billion (up from $214 billion in 2010).
So-called “Alzheimer’s disease” and closely related diseases are actually members of an aggressive family of neurodegenerative diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). The operative word is “transmissible.” The TSE epidemic represents an environmental nightmare that threatens every mammal on Earth.
TSEs include Alzheimer’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Parkinson’s disease, mad cow disease and chronic wasting disease in deer. TSE has been found in mink, moose, mice, sheep, cats, elephants, dolphins and many other species. Sea mammals are extremely vulnerable, but they aren’t being tested. Sick mammals on land and at sea are a canary in a coal mine. Their sickness confirms an alarming epidemiological trend among humans. An environmental contagion is responsible for the spike among many mammals. There is no species barrier.
TSEs are caused by a deadly protein called a prion (PREE-on). Prion disease is unstoppable. The pathogen spreads through the bodily fluids and cell tissue of its victims. Blood, skin, saliva, mucus, milk, urine and feces carry deadly prions from victims. All tissue is infectious just because of the contact with the contaminated blood.
Prions are such a formidable threat that the U.S. government enacted the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, which included a provision to halt research on prions in all but two laboratories. It classified prions as select agents that pose an extreme risk to food, water and health systems. Unfortunately, the Center For Disease Control quietly took prions off the list about two years ago because the classification threatened to criminalize some multi-billion dollar industries and many industry practices.
Prions linger in the environment, homes, hospitals, nursing homes, dental offices, restaurants and many other places infinitely. They migrate, mutate, multiply and kill with unparalleled efficiency. Prions defy all attempts at sterilization and inactivation. Victims often become infectious long before they appear sick.
“CJD behaves like Alzheimer’s disease on steroids,” said Dr. Jennifer Majersik, an associate professor of neurology at the University of Utah.
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 inautism appears to be related.