Alzheimer’s Disease Indistinguishable From Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
Neurodegenerative disease is the fastest-growing cause of death in the world. It’s time to expand the conversation immediately.
Alzheimer’s disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) are essentially the same disease at different points on the same spectrum. Misdiagnosis, suppression of diagnoses, misinformation and mismanagement are contributing to the epidemic. Alzheimer’s and CJD are part of a spectrum disease called transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). The operative word is “transmissible.”
Dr. Stanley Prusiner, an American neuroscientist from the University of California at San Francisco, earned a Nobel Prize in 1997 for discovering and characterizing deadly prions and prion disease. President Obama awarded Prusiner the National Medal of Science in 2010 to recognize the importance of his research. Unfortunately, Prusiner’s science is being ignored and we all are facing a public health disaster because of the negligence and reckless disregard for public health.
TSEs includes Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and an extremely aggressive version known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Prusiner claims that all forms of TSE are caused by infectious prions (PREE-ons).
The prion spectrum varies in severity. It also varies depending on which region of the brain is impacted first. When the presenting symptom is memory loss, the diagnoses flow along the following chart.
CJD is the most severe form of prion disease in humans. CJD often kills within weeks or months of diagnosis (a definitive confirmation requires an autopsy). The government once proclaimed that CJD only strikes a few people globally each year. They once proclaimed that it only struck people the elderly. Both are myths. It’s now striking teenagers. The TSE epidemic represents an environmental nightmare that threatens every mammal on Earth.
Most diagnoses are a process of elimination. After eliminating all other possibilities, the guesswork begins:
- If the patient has a memory disorder, it’s Alzheimer’s disease.
- If they have a movement disorder, it’s Parkinson’s disease.
- If the patient shows both symptoms, flip a coin.
- If they ever had a concussion, it’s possibly CTE.
- If the person is incapacitated, it’s Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).
Prion disease causes memory loss, impaired coordination, and abnormal movements. 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.
“Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease behaves like Alzheimer’s disease on steroids,” said Dr. Jennifer Majersik, an associate professor of neurology at the University of Utah.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease often is confused with Alzheimer’s disease because they are very similar and both are always fatal. It seems as though CJD is caused by a more aggressive mutation of the deadly prion than Alzheimer’s disease. The only difference that the medical community discusses is the pace of disease progression. CJD is usually very aggressive and kills within weeks of diagnosis.
Since prion disease is a spectrum disease, doctors can’t tell the difference between Alzheimer’s disease and CJD without a spinal tap and it’s still a guess. 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. 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 mismanagement doesn’t end here.
The prion pathogen spreads through the bodily fluids and cell tissue of its victims. Blood, 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.
Unfortunately, there are so many variations of prions, that even a spinal tap can only detect prion disease. It can’t distinguish between all of the various mutations because they aren’t even in the science books, yet. Dr. Prusiner just announced the discovery of a new form of prion. The first such characterization in 40 years. Just a few thousand more to go. Unfortunately, it’s time to focus on containment not characterization.
The only definitive diagnosis of prion disease requires an autopsy, which rarely happens with neurological disease due to concerns about deadly contamination and exposure. All doctors are guessing with each Alzheimer’s diagnosis. All they can do is attempt to gauge the severity of symptoms. This problem complicates the search for accurate statistics about the size and scope of the epidemic. The attempt to differentiate between CJD and Alzheimer’s represents a containment nightmare.
The Fore tribe of New Guinea unknowingly became the first known “Guinea Pigs” for prion disease (villagers call CJD “kuru”). Rumors made it out that many tribal members were getting sick and experiencing horrifying deaths from kuru. Ultimately, pioneering pathologists from the U.S. and Australia spent time with the Fore to understand the disease.
The research began back in 1955. After years of study, scientists determined that some tribal members (mostly women and children) contracted the prion disease after eating the brains of relatives who died. At some point in time, someone died of the natural form of dementia and then the tribe unknowingly consumed that person’s brains in a ritual—including the deadly prions that killed the person. Many of those who ate these infected brains also withered away and died of this brain wasting disease. As those people died, the surviving villagers consumed the brains of the deceased and so on. The disease kept recycling and intensifying itself through cannibalism.
It’s impossible to know exactly how many years it took for the disease to start snowballing among the Fore. Once it reached a tipping point, it almost destroyed the tribe. Thanks to the efforts of some dedicated researchers, they eventually isolated the problem and helped instill some social change to curb contamination and the epidemic.
I haven’t heard of any modern updates, but once infected, the soil in the area and personal items are still infected. Therefore, further outbreaks are possible just because of environmental contamination—even decades after the initial outbreak.
Recent CJD Clusters
Elsewhere in the world, people have contracted the disease by eating meat from livestock and wildlife with prion disease. The UK had the most severe crisis back in the late 1980s and early 1990s. They killed almost 200,000 cattle in an attempt to eradicate mad cow disease.
Over the past 25 years, the world has seen several clusters of the disease in humans, which points toward areas of environmental contamination or contaminated food and water supplies. In Cleveland County North Carolina, for example, 17 patients died from CJD in just a few months in early 2013. In British Columbia, four people from the Fraser Valley were diagnosed with CJD in one day in 2013 (although one apparently died a few weeks earlier). Clusters of the disease have appeared before and they are still appearing thanks to sewage mismanagement and other forms of environmental contamination.
TSEs also mad cow disease and chronic wasting disease in deer. TSE has been found in mink, moose, mice, sheep, cats, elephants, dolphins and many other mammals. 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. The reckless management of infectious waste (sewage) is fueling the epidemic.
Anna’s Brave Battle Against Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
The following story is about a 62-year-old American woman from Washington state. She was diagnosed with CJD in the fall of 2012. She died just before Christmas in her husband’s arms at home near Spokane. As this testimonial describes, even the most deadly form of dementia, CJD, is misunderstood and mismanaged. The highly infectious patient was never quarantined and caregivers, including family, were not warned about deadly and highly contagious prions.
As Dwight, the surviving husband, explained, “I would like this story told because I believe this is a MUCH BIGGER problem than we know. None of Anna’s doctors ever mentioned anything about the prion risks to other people.” The following commentary reflects the opinions and perspectives of Mr. Dwight Henderson as he reflects on his wife’s final months and his noble battle to stand by her side at all costs.
Unfortunately, millions of others like them have been battling the mystery of dementia and prion disease in the dark. This is Dwight’s opening salvo to shed some light on the crisis for others to see. Read more http://alzheimerdisease.tv/annas-brave-battle-with-creutzfeldt-jakob-disease/
Prions are unstoppable. They kill everything in their path—man or beast. Prions are highly infectious and the bodies of victims become highly infectious. Blood, milk, meat, urine, saliva, feces and other bodily fluids of victims carry prions, which can cause Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.