Urine Test Can Diagnose Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Prions Fueling A Public Health Disaster

Urine can be used to test for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Unfortunately, it also is a pathway that spreads prion disease among mammals.

infectious waste and food contamination

The Medical Research Council team is working on a simple test. They claim that their prototype test still needs honing before it could be used routinely. Currently there is no easy test available for this rare but fatal brain condition. Instead, doctors have to take a sample of spinal fluid or brain tissue, or wait for a post-mortem after death. What they look for is tell-tale deposits of abnormal proteins called prions, which cause the brain damage.

Building on earlier US work, Dr. Graham Jackson and colleagues, from University College London, have now found it is also possible to detect prions in urine. This might offer a way to diagnose CJD rapidly and earlier, they say, although there is no cure.

CJD is a rare, but fatal degenerative brain disorder caused by abnormal proteins called prions that damage brain cells. In the 1990s it became clear that a brain disease could be passed from cows to humans (it can also be passed from humans to other mammals). Since then, officials have kept a close check on how many people have become sick or died from CJD. There is no known cure.

Prions and Alzheimer's disease

The study looked at urine samples from 162 people. Of these:

  • 91 were healthy controls
  • 34 had neurological disease that was not thought to be caused by CJD
  • 37 had a diagnosis of CJD (20 of these were sporadic CJD)

The urine test gave no “false-positive” results – meaning it did not falsely suggest there was CJD in any of the patients known not to have the disease. But it was less reliable when it came to detecting actual cases. It accurately detected just under half of the sporadic CJD patients and even fewer of the vCJD patients. The researchers hope they will be able to improve the test further so it can reliably detect all types of CJD.

“Although there is currently no cure for this disease, an accurate and early diagnosis is extremely important for patients and their families, said Dr. Jackson. “In the future, as trials of potential therapies become available, the earlier a patient can be diagnosed the more effective any treatment is likely to be. This test could be a critical step forward.”

Editor’s Note: Prion disease is a spectrum disease that includes Alzheimer’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, mad cow disease, chronic wasting disease and is likely a contributing factor in the global rise in autism. Victims are infectious long before they exhibit symptoms. Misinformation and mismanagement of sewage and wastewater are contributing to the global epidemic in neurodegenerative disease. As more people get the disease, the waste stream becomes even deadler. It’s time to regulate wastewater streams, including biosolids, as infectious waste and it’s time to enforce the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002.

Neurodegenerative News via http://www.bbc.com/news/health-37541550?post_id=10153608943738725_10154203430888725

Alzheimer’s Disease Protein Differs In Each Patient

Prion Pathogen Mutates As It Migrates

Alzheimer’s disease proteins form and accumulate differently in every patient, according to new research. This means that universal treatments may be impossible. With Alzheimer’s disease a protein called amyloid-beta forms fibers that congregate into plaques. These protein formations appear to be toxic and destructive to brain cells.

Alzheimers epidemic

The neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer’s disease starts years before symptoms of dementia appear.

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that causes gradual deterioration of the memory and thinking process and, eventually, death. A new study suggests that each person may have a distinct version of the fibers, and that this affects how the disease develops. This was shown from a small study where the A-beta protein was removed from the brain tissue of two women who had died from Alzheimer’s disease.

The women had different symptoms and the disease affected different parts of their brains and the protein took only a very different shape in each of the women. What the researchers found was that one woman’s fibers were long, thin and straight, while the other woman’s fibers were thicker and contained periodic twists. The research was undertaken by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the findings have been published in the journal Cell.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/359364#ixzz2gVdbrzhH

treat Alzheimer's disease

Prions In Plants Spreading Brain Diseases

Infectious Waste Spreading Alzheimer’s Disease

Prions — the infectious, deformed proteins that cause chronic wasting disease in deer and mad cow disease in cattle — can be absorbed by plants such as alfalfa, corn and tomatoes, according to new research from the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison.

Alzheimer's disease infectious disease

The research further demonstrated that stems and leaves from tainted plants were infectious when injected into laboratory mice.

The findings are significant, according to the researchers and other experts, because they reveal a previously unknown potential route of exposure to prions for a Wisconsin deer herd in which the fatal brain illness continues to spread. The disease has also become a pressing issue nationwide: The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified the deer disease in 17 states and predicts it will spread to other states.

Michael Samuel, a CWD researcher and wildlife ecology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who was not involved in the plant research, said the new study is significant. Previous studies have shown the disease can be transmitted animal-to-animal and via soil.

“It’s important because it identifies a potential pathway,” Samuel said of the study.

Christopher Johnson, who conducted the study, wrote in the abstract: “Our results suggest that prions are taken up by plants and that contaminated plants may represent a previously unrecognized risk of human, domestic species and wildlife exposure to CWD.”

Prions and Alzheimer's disease

The study focused on those prions similar to those causing CWD in deer. The disease is one of a class of neurological, prion-caused diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, including scrapie in sheep and goats, bovine spongiform encephalopathy — or mad cow disease — in cattle, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. CWD was discovered in Wisconsin’s deer herd in 2002.

Johnson is scheduled to present his research at the annual meeting of The Wildlife Society in Milwaukee in October. Johnson studies CWD at the federal wildlife disease center, which is run by the U.S. Geological Survey.

James Kazmierczak, the state public health veterinarian, said that a molecular species barrier, though little understood, appears to have so far prevented the CWD prions from making people and cattle sick.

Also, Kazmierczak said, data reported to the Wisconsin Division of Public Health show little deviation from the national rate — a little above one case per million people — in annual cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Nor, he added, does data on more than 800 Wisconsin hunters who have consumed CWD-tainted venison show any human cases of prion brain disease.

Nationwide, according to the CDC, “no strong evidence of CWD transmission to humans has been reported.”

Even so, the threat of CWD transmission by crop and food plants — and the newly discovered potential for exposure to humans and livestock — has prompted some to say the state Department of Natural Resources should reconsider its CWD policy.

chronic wasting disease

“That is very disconcerting,” George Meyer, executive director of the nonprofit Wisconsin Wild-life Federation, said of the research.

“My impression,” said Meyer, a former DNR secretary, “is (that) it should cause a major review of the very weak CWD strategy that is being pursued by the DNR.”

Dave Clausen, former chairman of the Natural Resources Board and a veterinarian who has studied CWD, has also criticized the DNR for being passive on the disease. He agreed with Meyer that the new research should give the agency pause. He said the potential presence of prions in plants is not only a public health concern but “has big implications for our agricultural economy, not just in this state but all across the country.”

Disease Spreading

Soon after the discovery of CWD in Wisconsin, the DNR embarked on an aggressive effort to halt spread of the disease by putting in place additional and longer hunting seasons, requiring hunters to shoot a female deer before taking a buck, and hiring sharpshooters to kill deer.

But the ambitious program grew unpopular with hunters and landowners, and the number of hunters participating in the state’s annual deer hunt declined. Meanwhile, the disease spread.

The DNR reports that prevalence of the disease has increased in all sex and age classes of deer. During the past 11 years, for example, agency data estimates prevalence in adult males has risen from 8 to 10 percent, to more than 20 percent. And in adult females, the prevalence has grown from about 3 or 4 percent to about 9 percent.

biosolids land application sewage sludge

In a disease hot spot in southwestern Wisconsin, CWD prevalence has increased to 27 percent among deer 2½ years or older, according to DNR statistics. The growth was called “frightening” by Robert Rolley, a DNR researcher who worked on the study.

And the disease has spread far beyond where it originally showed up. Two years ago, the disease was discovered in a doe in Washburn County in northeastern Wisconsin. Testing has turned up no other infected deer in the area.

Tom Hauge, who directs the DNR’s wildlife management program, said the new research is unlikely to cause the agency to re-evaluate its CWD program.

“Current management is grounded in the reality of the present conditions,” Hauge said. “There is no science to indicate that human health is at risk to date. And livestock to date have not been impacted. That reality has shaped the socioeconomic response.”

Hauge also said the current political atmosphere has been a factor. He said the special CWD regulations “wore thin on people” and that “manifested itself in a gubernatorial campaign.”

“Until that landscape changes,” Hauge said, “we have to live with the realities we face right now.”

Tami Ryan, who heads the DNR’s Wildlife Health Section, helped organize The Wildlife Society session at which Johnson will present his findings. She said she invited him because the agency is interested in learning more about the research. She called the initial work “very important research” but said she wants to see more data, especially on whether lab animals can become infected by eating tainted plant material rather than just via injection.

biosolids land application contaminates food water

“I’m also interested in the contamination level,” Ryan said. “What is the concentration and frequency of exposure that would result in infection? Is this as great a risk as coming into contact with another infected animal? A level of risk assessment is necessary.”

For the moment, she said, “I don’t hear alarm bells.”

Johnson said he is testing whether animals can become infected by eating CWD-laden plant tissues. He also said future work will address the questions raised by Ryan about the prion concentrations in plants necessary to cause infection.

“We’re just scratching the surface here,” Johnson said.

But Bryan Richards, CWD project leader at the National Wildlife Health Center, said even the findings to date should be taken seriously by state and federal wildlife and public health agencies.

“The potential for exposure is undeniable,” Richards said.

Can humans get CWD

Clausen said the plant research should be considered in the context of other CWD studies. He said research has shown the molecular barriers that seem to have protected humans from infection may be more porous than some believe.

Alzheimers epidemic

In 2004, for example, a CDC study published in the scientific journal Emerging Infectious Diseases concluded that the transmission of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, to humans indicates that “the species barrier may not completely protect humans from animal protein diseases.”

The article also cited lab studies in which CWD prions were found to infect human prion proteins. Still, the article concluded, “limited investigations have not identified strong evidence for CWD transmission to humans.” (bullshit)

Another study, led by Marcelo Barria from the Mitchell Center for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Brain Disorders at the University of Texas and published in the March 2011 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, showed that CWD prions in the laboratory can be manipulated over generations to change and become more infectious to humans.

“Our findings lead to a new view that the species barrier should not be seen as a static process but rather a dynamic biological phenomenon that can change over time when prion strains mature and evolve,” the researchers concluded.

Such science, Clausen said, should raise questions about a management approach to CWD that does not stem the spread of the disease and, as a result, increases the risk of human and animal exposure.

Alzheimer's disease epidemic

“The DNR’s official approach to environmental contamination with CWD prions has been a yawn and a shrug. Whether concerns from consumers, public health officials or agricultural interests will change that is an open question at this time,” Clausen said.

John Stauber, an activist and co-author of the book “Mad Cow USA,” said the new research should be especially sobering in a nation he believes is ignoring a possible dangerous public health threat.

“The implications of prion diseases potentially (spreading) via contaminated agricultural plants is mind-boggling,” Stauber said. “Imagine people, wildlife or livestock eating a cereal or vegetable that could years or decades later cause an incurable, fatal brain disease.

chronic wasting disease

“The best scientists have always warned that with prions, all bets are off. There is no other deadly disease agent as bizarre or invisible. Unfortunately, federal and state food and wildlife agencies have been ignoring the prion threat, downplaying its human health risks, cutting back on research, and pretending this will all go away. It won’t.”

Source: http://lacrossetribune.com/news/local/prions-in-plants-new-concern-for-chronic-wasting-disease/article_4845fdb0-28c0-11e3-bc61-0019bb2963f4.html