Approximately 50 million people around the world already have Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. It’s the fastest-growing cause of death in the world. Thanks to misdiagnoses, misinformation, and millions of people going undiagnosed, we don’t understand the full scope of the epidemic.
Alzheimer’s disease is a member of an aggressive family of neurodegenerative diseases known as Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE). The operative word is “transmissible.” In fact, new research from Duke University indicates that caregivers of those with dementia are six times more likely to contract the disease than people who are not caregivers. That number will prove to be much higher.
TSEs are caused by a deadly protein called a prion (PREE-on). Prion disease is unstoppable and the pathogen spreads through bodily fluids and cell tissue. 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. Thanks to modern sewage disposal practices, prions are building up in our water supplies. They also are contaminating our crops, parks and yards.
Prions defy all attempts at sterilization and inactivation. Victims often are contagious long before they appear sick. Their skin, saliva, urine, blood and feces help spread the pathogen further as they struggle to survive. A sneeze or cough can be lethal.
Dr. Stanley Prusiner earned a Nobel Prize in 1997 for identifying, naming and studying deadly prions. President Obama awarded Prusiner the National Medal of Science in 2010 to recognize the importance of his research. The importance of his research continues to unfold.
In June 2012, Prusiner confirmed that Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and even ALS are prion diseases similar, if not identical, to CJD in people, mad cow disease in livestock and chronic wasting disease in wildlife. The variations in disease progression could be due to genetics in the patients or mutations in the prion, not different diseases entirely. Prion disease is prion disease.
In April 2019, Dr. Prusiner published conclusive evidence that Alzheimer’s disease is a prion disease. The implications are far-reaching. Prion disease is highly infectious and fatal. It impacts 50-100 million victims, their family, friends and caregivers. It’s time to reform policies and practices on many fronts to protect public health and animal health.
“Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disease in humans and will pose a considerable challenge to healthcare systems in the coming years,” Prusiner said. “Aggregation of the β-amyloid (Aβ) peptide within the brain is thought to be an initiating event in AD pathogenesis. Many recent studies in transgenic mice have provided evidence that Aβ aggregates become self-propagating (infectious) during disease, leading to a cascade of protein aggregation in the brain, which fuels 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 those of prions composed of PrPSc proteins. The evidence that Aβ can become a prion during disease, Aβ prions may be important for understanding the pathobiology of AD.”
Like prion diseases, 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. It also could be another pathway of transmission.
“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. “The infections were thought to be caused by a slow-acting virus, yet no one had managed to isolate the culprit.”
Prusiner isn’t alone. In fact, I challenge you to find any science that says that Alzheimer’s disease and CJD are not transmissible.
Prion Pathways Mismanaged
Although there are many factors contributing to the prion disease epidemic, many lethal pathways are being mismanaged around the globe. As such, we are recycling the pathogen that causes Alzheimer’s disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease right back into our food and water. We’re dumping these killer proteins on crops, parks, golf courses, ski areas, forests, and school grounds. It’s killing people and animals in a variety of ways, but brain disease is the most common theme.
Rain and irrigation spread prions and other neurotoxins throughout our communities and watersheds. We’re dumping prions into our food and water supplies with foolish sewage management practices.
Claudio Soto, PhD, professor of neurology and director of the George and Cynthia W. Mitchell Center for Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Brain Related Illnesses at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, and his colleagues recently confirmed that prions are detectable in urine. The study has been published in the August 7 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
“Our findings open the possibility that some of the sporadic Alzheimer’s cases may arise from an infectious process, which occurs with other neurological diseases such as mad cow and its human form, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease,” said Claudio Soto, Ph.D., professor of neurology at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, part of UTHealth. “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 that are believed to kill neuron cells in Alzheimer’s.”
The good news is that the research offers hope for earlier diagnosis among the millions of people impacted around the world. The discovery can promote earlier intervention and better disease management. It also can help develop screens to protect our blood supplies from donors with prion disease.
The bad news is that prions in urine, mucus, feces, skin and blood underscore the environmental nightmare associated with Alzheimer’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), Parkinson’s disease and prion diseases among livestock and wildlife. Wastewater treatment plants around the world have been collecting, incubating and distributing prions for decades.
Soto also confirmed that plants uptake prions and are infectious and deadly to those who consume the infected plants. Therefore, humans, wildlife and livestock are vulnerable to prion disease via plants grown on land treated with infectious waste.
Although there are many causes for prion disease, many people and animals are contracting it from environmental exposure (food, water and soil) and then contaminating the environment even more with their own bodily fluids. Once victims die, carcasses also contaminate soil and water.
Soto failed to reference urine and blood studies performed earlier by Ruth Gabizon in 2001 and Reichl in 2002. These studies also detected prions in bodily fluids. Despite that detail, Soto’s findings can help focus global attention on the exploding prion problem and the mismanagement. Their work should have been a warning call.
If a single person with prion disease discharges bodily fluids or feces into a public sewer system, that sewage system is permanently infected and the amount of contamination will multiply and intensify daily. Prions migrate, mutate and multiply. There are millions of mutations of prions today and there will be millions more tomorrow. No two cases of prion disease are identical.
Everything discharged from infected sewage systems—reclaimed water and biosolids—spread the prion contamination even further.
Once a prion reaches the soil, that soil is permanently contaminated and the entire watershed (water) below that point is at risk forever. Dr. Soto also announced recently that at least some plants grown in sewage sludge and other mediums contaminated with infectious prions can uptake those prions and become infectious. If your food and water is generated in such a watershed, you have a higher risk of contracting prion disease with every sip of water or every bite of food produced locally. Organic food can’t be grown in sewage sludge, but dust particles go airborne and land anywhere they want–including your home or office.
With the help of weather, prions can migrate far and wide through wind and water. Rain and snow can rinse them into surface water, groundwater, streams, ponds, lakes, and oceans. Wildlife, livestock and humans can ingest prions from soil, water and food. We can’t afford to take the risk of further contaminating entire watersheds – increasing the pathway to humans, livestock, and wildlife downstream.
This transmissible family of disease is unstoppable for many reasons. Once items are exposed to victims of prion disease, they can never be sterilized again. Hospitals throw them away. Morgues take special precautions, if they even accept the body. Unfortunately, caregivers and family members are not being warned accordingly. They rush to the sides of their loved ones during their final months, weeks and days. Most have no idea that these patients are extremely infectious.
Because of these factors and others, we have an epidemic of prion disease exploding around the world right now. The epidemic is worse in some regions of the world than others. For example, the death rate for Alzheimer’s is higher in Finland than any other country in the world. Iceland and the United States are runners up. In fact, the death rate for Alzheimer’s is higher in Washington state than any other known region in the world. These vast discrepancies can only be explained by environmental factors, including food, water and air pathways. Sewage disposal that contaminates local food and water supplies is likely part of the problem.
Alzheimer’s and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease are indistinguishable. They are essentially the same disease. Medical professionals cannot tell the difference and it’s commonly known in the medical industry that the diagnoses are only a guess and that misdiagnoses are common—if there’s even a substantial difference between Alzheimer’s and CJD. It appears that CJD is caused by a more aggressive mutation of prion than Alzheimer’s, but a deadly prion is a deadly prion. There is no reason to believe that some prions behave differently than others in disease transmission and progression.
The urine and sewage connection helps explain why the global epidemic is exploding. More than 50 million people around the world are known to have these neurodegenerative diseases today. Millions more have the disease, but don’t know it, yet. In addition to these people, millions of infected people around the world have used our sewage systems over the past century. Millions more are using them today.
It’s impossible to neutralize or stop prions in even the most sterile environments, including hospitals. It’s ludicrous to think that treated sewage water or biosolids are prion-free. Especially since prions from people are much more infectious than those found in other species (prions become more aggressive as they work their way up the food chain).
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. The EPA has never issued guidance on prion management within sewage processing plants. This lack of directive allows budget-strapped states and counties to regulate the practices in a variety of ways that best suit local municipalities and industries. This negligence spawned a public health disaster.
Dr. Soto’s test changes that equation. Now, the EPA can’t plead ignorance to the dangers of prions in biosolids and reclaimed sewage water. Sewage dumped at sea must be reconsidered. In fact, in November 2018, the U.S. EPA admitted that it has no idea if dumping sewage sludge (biosolids) on land is safe. It admitted that its risk assessments were incomplete at best, if not totally fraudulent.
Prions should again be classified as a select agent by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Centers for Disease Control and similar agencies around the world. Similar measures should be enacted around the world immediately. Failure to act responsibly is suicide.
Unfortunately, testing will confirm that every sewage system in the world has served people with Alzheimer’s disease and CJD. As such, prions have been incubating, multiplying and migrating out of these systems for many years. The problem is intensifying within and beyond these sewage systems every day.
According to the U.S. EPA, “Prions are extremely resistant to inactivation by ultraviolet light, irradiation, boiling, dry heat, formaline, freezing, drying and changes in pH. Methods for inactivating prions in infected tissues or wastes include incineration at very high temperatures and alkaline hydrolysis.” They didn’t mention hydrogen peroxide, which is how some toilet-to-tap programs hope to kill deadly prions.
The EPA National Water Research Compendium 2009-2014 lists prions eight times as an emerging contaminant of concern in sewage sludge (biosolids), water and manure. The EPA issued what it calls the “Sludge Rule,” which basically disclaims any responsibility for its questionable risk assessments regarding biosolids. The EPA reserves the right to adjust these risk assessments, however, as the test of time disproves its pseudo-science.
Finally, the EPA announced in November 2018 that it could not assess the risks to humans or the environment associated with dumping sewage sludge on land. It basically admitted to 40 years of fraud, disease and death.
Prion researcher Dr. Joel Pedersen, from the University of Wisconsin, found that prions become 680 times more infective in certain soils. Pedersen’s research also found that sewage treatment does not inactivate prions.
“Our results suggest that if prions enter municipal wastewater treatment systems, most of the agent would bond to 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. Prions could end up in sewage treatment plants via slaughterhouses, hospitals, dental offices and mortuaries just to name a few of the pathways. The disposal of sludge represents the greatest risk of spreading prion contamination in the environment. Plus, we know that sewage sludge pathogens, pharmaceutical residue and chemical pollutants are taken up by plants and vegetables.”
“Since it’s unlikely that the sewage treatment or pellet production processes 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.
Meanwhile, we’re spreading tons of infectious biosolids (sewage sludge) on farmland every day to produce our food. Our water supplies drain right through this infectious waste.
Thanks to wind and water migration, organic food operations, including fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy are not immune to prion exposure. Research confirms that plants uptake prions and prions certainly contaminate leafy matter and the skin of fruits and vegetables upon contact.
We’re dumping biosolids on parks and golf courses and our backyards where we live and play. Coastal cities and ocean vessels dump their sewage right into the ocean, where prions can enter the food chain again, while washing back on our favorite beaches. Even that potting soil in a bag often has biosolids/sewage/infectious waste in it. Neurodegenerative disease in a bag.
We’re dumping millions of tons of contaminated sewage into the oceans, rivers and on cropland around the world every day. We’re spraying reclaimed wastewater on our parks, golf courses and crops. In some cases, people are drinking reclaimed wastewater that has been recycled to their taps. Municipalities, water companies and sewage districts face new liabilities as never seen before.
The new urine study primarily references what is called variant CJD (vCJD is the supposed strain of prion that causes mad cow disease). I argue that a deadly prion is a deadly prion and all prion diseases should be managed assuming that prions are in the urine of all victims. There is no species barrier. There is no cure.
Based on this premise, caregivers and family members must arm themselves with facts that can save their lives. Simple acts, including a sneeze or a cough, can expose family and caregivers to the prion contagion. For example, many household items, including utensils and dishes that belong to people who have Alzheimer’s and CJD are likely infected from saliva. It’s unsafe for others to use these items and people should not donate them to charity.
Despite the mass confusion and concern regarding prion disease, protective and sterilization protocols for Alzheimer’s disease and CJD are not the same and millions of people are being exposed to a vicious prion disease because of false securities. CJD is just the tip of a deadly, incurable iceberg. We’re recklessly allowing caregivers and stakeholders to expose themselves and others to the prion pathogen.
Although there are multiple causes of, and pathways for, prion disease, reckless policies around the world are contributing to the unstoppable epidemic. It’s spreading further every day. Stakeholders must arm themselves with facts that can promote reform because infected animals shed infectious prions in skin, blood, saliva, mucus, urine, feces and cell tissue. Prions also have been found in milk. In essence, the entire body of a victim is contaminated and must be managed accordingly.
With these risks in mind, we need many reforms to safeguard human health and environmental pathways. We are experts on the issue of prion disease and pathway management. We have influenced public opinion and public policy around the world. Please join us in the pursuit of truth and reform.
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 in autism appears to be related.