Introduction

Alzheimer's disease and prion disease

Alzheimer’s Disease: The Science.

Neurodegenerative disease is the fastest-growing cause of death on the planet (excluding the coronavirus). Alzheimer’s disease alone is taking the lives of 50-100 million people around the world now. Millions will die of the disease this year, while millions more will be diagnosed and misdiagnosed. Millions of additional people will go undiagnosed. Contrary to popular belief, neurodegenerative disease is not a normal part of aging. In fact, neurodegenerative disease is now killing teenagers.

A variety of factors can trigger neurodegenerative disease, including genetics, head trauma and prions. A prion (pree-on) is a deadly form of protein that infects the entire body, while consuming the brain. Prion disease is clinically known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). As the name suggests, TSEs are transmissible. Deadly prions spread through the bodily fluids and tissue of those carrying prion disease (milk, blood, saliva, mucus, urine, feces, tissue and skin). Prions shed from infected humans are highly transmissible to humans and other mammals.

Thanks to misinformation and mismanagement, this aggressive and progressive brain disease has killed millions of people around the world over the past 50 years. It’s also killing livestock, wildlife and sea mammals. Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) are forms of prion disease.

The Prion Pandemic

Supposedly, no one knows the scope of the prion pandemic. The evidence swept under the rug and the global misinformation campaign suggest otherwise. The pandemic is more severe in some countries than others. Finland and Iceland were at the top of the list just a few years ago. Now, countries in the Middle East and Persian Gulf states have soared to the top of the list.

Neurodegenerative disease has been surging around the world for years. Despite millions of deaths every year, experts suggest that the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease will quadruple by 2050, if not sooner. Deadly, self-replicating proteins appear to be one of the common threads. Childhood cases of prion disease also are increasing.

In the United States, for example, deaths from Alzheimer’s disease increased 146 percent from 2000 to 2018, while deaths from heart disease decreased 14 percent. Given the vast numbers of people with Alzheimer’s disease who go undiagnosed, the real number is probably double the official statistics.

At $355 billion a year, Alzheimer’s disease is already the most expensive disease in the United States. Most countries are feeling the pinch on public budgets.

Alzheimer’s disease is surging at a rate of at least 15 percent per year in many countries–the largest increase of all major causes of death. It accounted for 121,499 documented deaths (and thousands more of undiagnosed and undocumented ones) in the U.S. alone in 2019. A similar pattern is emerging around the globe–in some regions much more than others. In the U.S., nearly one in every five Medicare dollars is spent on people with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. These costs will continue to increase sharply as baby boomers age and the prion contagion spreads, soaring to more than $1 trillion in 2050.

The Alzheimer’s/Parkinson’s epidemic is more widespread than anyone knows. Physicians have withheld millions of diagnoses from patients and their families. According to an investigative report by the Alzheimer’s Association, physicians in the U.S. only inform 45 percent of patients about their Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis. In addition to ethical concerns, such suppression helps shade the pandemic. Meanwhile, millions more go undiagnosed and misdiagnosed every year.

A groundbreaking study suggested that Alzheimer’s disease actually causes six times more deaths than official statistics indicate. In reality, the study said that Alzheimer’s disease was the underlying cause in more than 500,000 deaths in 2010. Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s deaths are often attributed to conditions, such as pneumonia. It appears that more accurate numbers make Alzheimer’s disease the third-leading cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease and cancer. Researchers at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago led the study and published their results in 2013 in the medical journal Neurology.

Governments and industry are working diligently to keep prion disease off the public radar. The epidemic will persist. A cure does not exist. It’s virtually impossible to sterilize anything exposed to a person with prion disease. Hospital systems are now on high alert after several cases of prion exposure. Ignoring the truth about prions on a broader scale is making the pandemic worse.

The Prion Connection

To advance the conversation rapidly, I hypothesize that Alzheimer’s disease, as a prion disease, is a transmissible disease. It’s infectious. It’s contagious. Prion disease is being grossly mismanaged around the world in people, wildlife and livestock:

  • In 2019, Dr. Stanley Prusiner confirmed that Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease are forms of prion disease;
  • Prion is a term based on the name proteinaceous, infectious particle;
  • I suggest that prion disease is a spectrum disease, where Alzheimer’s disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) are on the same spectrum. The primary difference between these two forms of prion disease is that they attack the same region of the brain at different speeds. CJD is highly infectious and clearly mismanaged. The same can be said of Alzheimer’s disease since no one knows where along the spectrum the disease becomes infectious. I suggest that they are infectious at all phases of the spectrum. Hospitals will dispose of equipment contaminated by CJD patients, while sending patients home to die, where they proceed to expose family and friends, while contaminating entire communities. CJD patients should be quarantined, but CJD isn’t even a reportable disease across the U.S. and most countries. Neurologists are just guessing when distinguishing between CJD and Alzheimer’s disease. Mismanagement of this entire spectrum is fueling a public health disaster;
  • Dr. Prusiner confirmed that Parkinson’s disease also is a prion disease. The primary difference between Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease is that the prions are destroying different parts of the brain. In Alzheimer’s disease, the region of the brain responsible for memory is under attack. With Parkinson’s disease, the region of the brain responsible for movement is under attack. Otherwise, the prion pathology is similar with Alzheimer’s and CJD;
  • As the prion disease pandemic explodes, municipal wastewater treatment systems are becoming weapons of mass destruction. They are collection points for prions in blood, saliva, mucus, urine, feces, tissue and skin. Since we now dump most of our sewage on crops, ranches, parks, playgrounds, golf courses and gardens, prions are threatening our food and water supplies more and more every day;
  • Prion disease is a threat to families, caregivers, healthcare systems and entire communities; and
  • As the prion disease epidemic explodes among humans, it has contributed to, if not triggered, a similar epidemic in wildlife known as chronic wasting disease (CWD). CWD is further confirmation of the transmissibility of prion disease.

Unfortunately, connecting these dots is not difficult. Failure to connect these dots on behalf of public health is criminal. Prion disease is impossible to stop, which makes pathway management (public exposure) vital. Caregivers, family members and billions of innocent people are caught in the crossfire of this explosive epidemic.

The Problem With Prions

Prions (PREE-ons) are a deadly and unstoppable form of protein that migrates, mutates, multiplies and kills with unparalleled efficiency. Prions were first discovered in the late 1980s as a protein-containing biological agent that replicates itself in living cells without nucleic acid. 

Prions cause fatal neurodegenerative disease in humans and other mammals by converting the cellular version of prion protein into a toxic form that erodes the brain and body. Prion disease often is described as a wasting disease that causes a loss of body mass and brain mass.

We know prion disease by other names, which helps cloak the gravity of the overall problem. As this article will explain, humans experience prion disease primarily as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Creutzfeldt-Jakob and Huntington diseases. These diseases have much in common.

Prion disease is known to impact many mammals. In livestock, it is known as mad cow disease. In deer, elk, moose and reindeer, prion disease is often referred to as chronic wasting disease (CWD). Prion disease has been found in camels, dolphins, elephants, mink, cats and many other species. The suggestion of a reliable species barrier against thousands, if not millions, of mutations is ludicrous.

Regardless of the species impacted, prion disease causes memory loss, impaired coordination, abnormal movements and overall wasting of the mind and body. Victims become prion incubators and distributors. So do wastewater treatment plants.

Governments and industry are working diligently to keep prion disease off the public radar. The epidemic will persist. A cure does not exist. Ignoring the truth is making it worse.

Despite millions of deaths annually, experts suggest that the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease (and Parkinson’s disease) will quadruple by 2050, if not sooner. In the United States, for example, deaths from Alzheimer’s disease increased 71 percent from 2000 to 2013. During that time, deaths from heart disease decreased 14 percent and deaths from cancer also have been on the decline.

A groundbreaking study suggests that Alzheimer’s disease actually causes six times more deaths than official statistics indicate. In reality, the study said that Alzheimer’s disease was the underlying cause in more than 500,000 deaths (2010). These deaths were often listed as pneumonia or other complications caused by Alzheimer’s disease. Those numbers make Alzheimer’s disease the third-leading cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease and cancer. Researchers at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago published their results in 2013 in the journal Neurology. If we could make an accurate guess of how many additional deaths were people who had Alzheimer’s disease, but were never diagnosed, statistics would surge even higher.

The Evidence

Until recently, few have considered the possibility that Alzheimer’s disease is a transmissible disease. This denial and misinformation has been fueling a public health crisis around the world for years.

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 and prion disease. President Obama awarded Prusiner the National Medal of Science in 2010 to recognize the importance of his research. Important reforms to policies to protect public health, however, have been elusive. Prusiner’s most recent study confirms that Alzheimer’s disease is a prion disease–also known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSEs). Once again, it demands reform on many levels to protect public health.

“This shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that amyloid beta and tau are both prions, and that Alzheimer’s disease is a double-prion disorder in which these two rogue proteins together destroy the brain,” said Stanley Prusiner, MD, the study’s senior author and director of the UCSF Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases, part of the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences. “The fact that prion levels also appear linked to patient longevity should change how we think about the way forward for developing treatments for the disease. We need a sea change in Alzheimer’s disease research, and that is what this paper does. This paper might catalyze a major change in AD research.”

Alzheimer’s disease is currently defined based on the presence of toxic protein aggregations in the brain known as amyloid plaques and tau tangles, accompanied by cognitive decline and dementia. New evidence that active Aß and tau prions could be driving the disease – published May 1, 2019 in Science Translational Medicine — could lead researchers to explore new therapies that focus on prions directly. Hopefully, it will lead to many reforms to safeguard public health.

“I learned that scrapie (sheep), Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and kuru had all been shown to be transmissible by injecting extracts of diseased brains into the brains of healthy animals,” Prusiner said. Prusiner basically repeated the process with brain samples from those who died of Alzheimer’s disease to complete his latest study.

Prions + Pathways = Victims

Prion disease is highly contagious, incurable and fatal. Despite all of the smoke and mirrors, prion disease is prion disease. It’s killing more and more mammals, including humans, every year. The hype about species barriers is ridiculous, reckless and irresponsible.

Unfortunately, the CDC quietly took prions off the highly regulated list of select agents because the regulation criminalized entire industries and several reckless practices. It also opened the floodgates to prion mismanagement.

Victims should be quarantined because prions are in the milk, urine, feces, blood, saliva, mucus, skin and cell tissue of all victims–all human byproducts that are washed, dumped, or flushed down sinks and toilets. One can assume that the waste is extra infectious when it comes from funeral homes, nursing homes, hospitals, dental offices, veterinarians, slaughterhouses and some laboratories.

Alzheimer's disease epidemic

“There has been a resurgence of this sort of thinking, because there is now real evidence of the potential transmissibility of Alzheimer’s disease,” says Thomas Wiesniewski M.D. a prion and Alzheimer’s disease researcher at New York University School of Medicine.

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 supports the claim. All logic says that humans also are passing prion disease to livestock and wildlife through our wastewater and sewage dumped on farms, ranches and other open spaces. Likewise, animals are transmitting prion disease back to humans via meat, milk and other pathways.

Unfortunately, the implications are profound. Prion pathways threaten each and every person on the planet. The greatest prion pathway in the world is human sewage. It’s contaminating food and water supplies with deadly prions now. It’s been going on for years, but it’s worse than ever now.

Claudio Soto, PhD, professor of neurology at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, and his colleagues confirmed the presence of prions in urine. Prions infect the entire body and all bodily fluids of its victims, including blood, mucus and saliva. Caregivers for anyone with neurodegenerative disease beware.

“Our findings open the possibility that some of the sporadic Alzheimer’s disease cases may arise from an infectious process, which occurs with other neurological diseases such as mad cow disease and its human form, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease,” said Soto. “The underlying mechanism of Alzheimer’s disease is very similar to the prion diseases. It involves a normal protein that becomes misshapen and is able to spread by transforming good proteins to bad ones. The bad proteins accumulate in the brain, forming plaque deposits (and inflammation), which kill neurons.”

Misfolded alpha-synuclein and tau protein associated with Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, respectively, have been reported in skin tissues of patients with these conditions. Skin could serve as a screen for early diagnosis, but also for monitoring the accumulation of the misfolded proteins in the brain of these neurodegenerative diseases. Unfortunately, skin (and other bodily tissues) is a potential pathway of transmission.

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 specialized laboratories.

The U.S. government initially classified prions as select agents that pose an extreme risk to food, water and health systems. Today, governments don’t regulate prions at all.

As such, millions of caregivers are being misinformed, misguided and exposed to an aggressive prion disease. So are friends and family. 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 regarding prions.

“My latest study shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that amyloid beta and tau are both prions, and that Alzheimer’s disease is a double-prion disorder in which these two rogue proteins together destroy the brain,” said Prusiner.

Prusiner claims that all forms of TSE are caused by infectious prions. Prusiner’s most recent study confirms that Alzheimer’s disease is a prion disease, which means that millions of people with Alzheimer’s disease (and millions who died ahead of them) are highly infectious. Alzheimer’s disease is currently defined based on the presence of toxic protein aggregations in the brain known as amyloid plaques and tau tangles, accompanied by cognitive decline and dementia.

“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,” Prusiner said.

Prusiner basically repeated the process with brain samples from those who died of Alzheimer’s disease to complete his latest study. Sure enough, healthy animals contracted Alzheimer’s disease. Unfortunately, the implications are profound. Prion pathways threaten each and every person on the planet.

A Spectrum Disease

TSE is a spectrum disease that varies in severity and symptoms. The diagnosis depends on which region of the brain is impacted first and by what prion mutation. Few cases of prion disease are identical in terms of symptoms and pathology.

According to neuroscientists Dr. Laura Manuelidis, at least 25 percent of Alzheimer’s diagnoses are actually Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), which is further up the prion spectrum. CJD, without dispute, is extremely infectious to caregivers and loved ones.

When the presenting symptom is memory loss in a human, the diagnoses flow along the following chart.

prion disease

In humans, the prion spectrum primarily includes Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and CJD–the most aggressive version. Since there are thousands, if not millions of mutations of prions that can impact various regions of the brain, few cases are the same.

The difference between these diseases is very slight and often indistinguishable to neurologists. Due to the similarities, millions of people have CJD, but are diagnosed by their doctors with Alzheimer’s disease. CJD is clearly an aggressive prion disease, but mismanaged on most levels. If we hold to conventional wisdom, where along the spectrum does prion disease become transmissible?

There is no reason to think that anyone on the prion spectrum isn’t a walking time bomb as they expose everyone and everything in their path. It’s impossible to sterilize anything that they touch.

Adding to the madness, CJD has not been declared a reportable disease across most nations, so tracking it and containing it from an epidemiological standpoint is impossible. Likewise, Alzheimer’s disease rarely makes it to the death certificate as the primary cause of death. This is the silent pandemic.

Meanwhile, abnormal proteins also are associated with autism, which began spiking in the 1980s. It’s worse than ever today, but there is no national screening plan in most countries. In fact, it appears that age is the biggest difference between the neurodegenerative disease spectrum and autism spectrum disorders (neurodevelopmental). Both share common environmental causes and pathologies. Plus, CJD is taking the lives of more and more young adults and adolescents. The lines are clearly blurring with time and truth.

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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 clinical name for prion disease is transmissible spongiform encephalopathy.