Caregivers At Risk
Neurodegenerative disease is the fastest-growing cause of death in the world. Alzheimer’s disease alone is taking the lives of 50-100 million people now. Despite millions of Alzheimer’s-related fatalities annually, experts suggest that the prevalence of the disease among the living will quadruple by 2050, if not sooner. Some advocates are warning that the surging epidemic could bankrupt entire nations.
Unfortunately, there is a growing stack of evidence that Alzheimer’s disease is a transmissible disease, which means that millions of caregivers, friends and family members are at risk.
The epidemic is more widespread than anyone knows. A groundbreaking study suggested that Alzheimer’s disease causes six times as many deaths than official statistics indicate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that, in 2010, Alzheimer’s disease 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. In reality, the study said Alzheimer’s disease 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.
Dr. Stanley Prusiner, an American neuroscientist from the University of California at San Francisco, earned a Nobel Prize in 1997 for discovering and characterizing prions (PREE-ons) and prion disease, also known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). The operative word is “transmissible.” Prions are a deadly and unstoppable form of protein that migrates, mutates, multiplies and kills with unparalleled efficiency.
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. Misinformed caregivers, family members, healthcare workers and others are caught in the crossfire of a deadly contagion known as a prion.
“Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disease in. Aggregation of the β-amyloid (Aβ) peptide within the brain is thought to spark the AD pathogenesis. Many recent studies in transgenic mice have proven that Aβ aggregates become self-propagating (infectious) during disease, leading to a cascade of protein aggregation in the brain, which may underlie the progressive nature of AD. The ability to self-propagate and the existence of distinct “strains” reveals that Aβ aggregates exhibit many properties indistinguishable from deadly prions. We have evidence that Aβ can become a prion during disease,” said Prusiner. “I learned that scrapie, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and kuru had all been shown to be transmissible by injecting extracts of diseased brains into the brains of healthy animals. Whether prions are responsible for common neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease is a possibility that should not be ignored.”
TSE is a spectrum disease also known as prion disease. The spectrum 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. 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.
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.
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. The mismanagement doesn’t end here.
Studies confirm that people and animals dying of prion disease contaminate the environment around them because infectious prions are in the urine, feces, blood, mucus and saliva of each victim. These infectious bodily fluids are contributing to the rapid spread of Alzheimer’s and other mutations of prion disease.
“There has been a resurgence of this sort of thinking, because there is now real evidence of the potential transmissibility of Alzheimer’s,” says Thomas Wiesniewski M.D. a prion and Alzheimer’s researcher at New York University School of Medicine. “In fact, this ability to transmit an abnormal conformation is probably a universal property of amyloid-forming proteins (prions).”
Caregivers and other stakeholders are caught in the crossfire of misinformation and mismanagement. At the most basic level, this means that a sneeze, a drinking glass and eating utensils are permanent pathways of disease transmission. Anything that ever comes into contact with the bodily fluids of a victim is impossible to sterilize.
On a larger level, it means that entire communities and watersheds are at risk of permanent contamination from just a single victim, not to mention thousands of infectious victims. Alzheimer’s disease is an environmental nightmare–it’s a real-world version of Pandora’s box.
A study published in the journal Nature adds to the evidence about the transmissibility of Alzheimer’s disease between people. A second study by the same scientist in early 2016 adds to the claim. Meanwhile, there is absolutely no evidence to contrary. Even wildlife are contracting brain disease from people because of the dumping of infectious waste on farms, ranches and forests.
Caregivers are being misinformed about the risks associated with exposure to people with Alzheimer’s disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Surgical instruments infected with prions, for example, are impossible to sterilize. Hospitals throw them away. Prions are in the blood, saliva, urine, feces, mucus, and bodily tissue of its victims. Many factors are contributing to the epidemic. Prions are now the X factor. Industry and government are not accounting for prions or regulating them. They are ignoring the threat completely, which violates the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 in the United States. Other nations also are ignoring laws developed to protect food, air and water.
Wastewater treatment plants are collecting points for prions from infected humans. The sewage treatment process can’t stop prions from migrating, mutating and multiplying before being discharged into the environment where they can kill again. Wastewater treatment plants are spreading infectious waste far and wide because they are incapable of stopping prions. As such, all by-products and discharges from wastewater treatment plants are infectious waste, which are contributing to the global epidemic of neurodegenerative disease among humans, wildlife and livestock.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has confirmed that prions are in sewage and that there has been no way to detect them or stop them. As such, the EPA has never issued guidance on prion management within wastewater treatment plants. Unfortunately, the EPA’s risk assessment on sewage sludge and biosolids were prepared before the world of science knew about prions. The agency continues to cling to it’s antiquated sludge rule crafted back in the dark ages. It does, however, consider prions a “emerging contaminant of concern.” Meanwhile, its outdated risk assessments are promoting a public health disaster. The neurotoxins found in sewage, including heavy metals, also are contributing to the global spike in autism, which follows the same timing and trajectory as the spike in neurodegenerative diseases.
“Since it’s unlikely that the sewage treatment process can effectively deactivate prions, adopting measures to prevent the entry of prions into the sewer system is advisable,” said the Toronto Department of Health, November 2004.
Once unleashed on the environment, prions remain infectious. They migrate, mutate and multiply as they infect crops, water supplies, wildlife, livestock, sea mammals and humans. According to prion researcher Joel Pedersen at the University of Wisconsin, prions in soil become up to 680 times more infectious. From there, they migrate, mutate and multiply. It’s a real world version of Pandora’s Lunchbox.
“Our results suggest that if prions enter municipal wastewater treatment systems, most of the agent would bond to sewage sludge, survive anaerobic digestion, and be present in treated biosolids,” Pedersen said. “Land application of biosolids containing prions represents a route for their unintentional introduction into the environment. Our results emphasize the importance of keeping prions out of municipal wastewater treatment systems.
Pedersen also found that sewage treatment does not inactivate prions. Therefore, prions are lethal, mutating, migrating and multiplying everywhere sewage is dumped.
Unfortunately, prions linger in the environment, homes, hospitals, nursing homes, dental offices and beyond infinitely. Prions defy all attempts at sterilization and inactivation. Answers begin with the truth.
Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. Alzheimer’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, chronic wasting disease and the prion disease epidemic is an area of special expertise. Please contact Gary Chandler to join our coalition for reform firstname.lastname@example.org.