Bodily Fluids Spreading Alzheimer’s Disease
Neurodegenerative disease, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, is the fastest-growing cause of death in the world. Misinformation and mismanagement are contributing to the surge. Alzheimer’s disease alone is killing 50-100 million people now. Experts suggest that the prevalence of brain disease will quadruple by 2050, if not sooner.
Death rates from heart disease and cancer are dropping globally due to advances in nutrition, medicine and disease management. Meanwhile, neurodegenerative disease is exploding. In the U.S., deaths from Alzheimer’s disease increased 71 percent from 2000 to 2013, while those attributed to heart disease decreased 14 percent. Similar trends are emerging around the world. The reasons are alarming.
- Women are contracting neurodegenerative disease at twice the rate of men;
- Spouses of those with Alzheimer’s disease are 600% more likely to contract the disease, which is further evidence that it is a transmissible disease. Caregivers, family members and others are in harm’s way because of disease mismanagement and misinformation; and
- People in Finland, Iceland, Sweden and the United States have the highest prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease. Rates in North Dakota, South Dakota and Washington rival the highest rates in the world.
The epidemic is larger than anyone knows. Physicians are withholding millions of diagnoses from patients and their families. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, physicians in the U.S. only inform 45 percent of patients about their Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis. The same suppression is likely at work in most countries. Meanwhile, millions of people go undiagnosed and misdiagnosed.
At a cost of $236 billion a year, Alzheimer’s disease is already the most expensive disease in the United States. The disease saw a 15.7 percent bump over 2014 numbers–the largest increase of all major causes of death. It accounted for at least 108,227 deaths in the U.S. alone in 2015. A similar pattern is emerging around the globe–some regions much more than others. In the U.S. alone, nearly one in every five Medicare dollars is spent on people with Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia. These costs will continue to rise as baby boomers age and the contagion spreads.
To understand the threat, one must understand the dynamics and scope of the epidemic. Alzheimer’s, for example, is a member of an aggressive family of neurodegenerative diseases known as Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE). The operative word is “transmissible.”
TSEs also include Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, mad cow disease and chronic wasting disease in the deer family. Few, if any, mammals are immune. There is no cure. TSEs are always fatal.
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. He claims that all TSEs are caused by prions. President Obama awarded Prusiner the National Medal of Science in 2010 to recognize the importance of his research. According to Prusiner, TSEs all are on the same disease spectrum, which is more accurately described as prion (PREE-on) disease. CJD is at the extreme end of the spectrum.
Prions are unstoppable and the pathogen spreads through the bodily fluids and cell tissue of its victims. Prions shed from humans are the most deadly mutation. Prions shed from human victims demand more respect than radiation. Infected surgical instruments, for example, are impossible to sterilize and hospitals throw them away. Prions are in the blood, saliva, urine, feces, mucus, and bodily tissue of its victims. Not only are homes and hospitals exposed to the prion pathogen, so are entire sewage treatment systems and their by-products. Wastewater treatment plants are prion incubators and distributors. The sewage sludge and wastewater released are spreading disease far and wide.
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 these deadly proteins completely, which violates the United States’Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002. Other nations also are ignoring laws developed to protect food, air and water.
“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).”
A new study published in the journal Nature renews concern about the transmissibility of Alzheimer’s disease between people via saliva, mucus and other bodily fluids (drinking glass, a sneeze, etc.). A second study by the same scientist in early 2016 adds to the stack of evidence. A contaminated home, hospital and nursing home, for example, is essentially impossible to sterilize once contaminated with prions from a victim of the disease.
According to neuroscientist 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 disease spectrum. CJD, without dispute, is extremely infectious to caregivers and loved ones.