Skip to comments....Alzheimer's might be transmissible in similar way as infectious prion diseases
Posted on 10/04/2011 5:52:10 AM PDT by decimon
HOUSTON -- The brain damage that characterizes Alzheimer's disease may originate in a form similar to that of infectious prion diseases such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow) and Creutzfeldt-Jakob, according to newly published research by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).
"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."
(Excerpt) Read more at eurekalert.org ...
This was on FR a few weeks ago. I think they are complimentary. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2769347/posts
“... transmissible through a wound or bite?”
I have not been blessed with a scientific mind; however, it doesn’t surprise me that if you take infected brain matter and inject it into a mouse’s healthy brain.. the healthy mouse gets infected. I wonder if cancer cells are injected into a healthy mouse’s brain that the same thing doesn’t happen (i.e. the mouse gets cancer). Thus far, the research doesn’t seem to support that saliva contains the disease IMHO.
I don't know. Mad Cow spreads through ingestion, IIRC. Don't know about transmission through blood or other fluids.
While it's true dementia are related to prion ingestion, that's hardly news. More likely Alzheimer's is a common misdiagnosis. Alzheimer's is a general, broad-spectrum and poorly constrained definition for dementia from a variety of causes, some treatable or preventable.
A lot of people diagnosed with Alzheimer's are being ill-served and shuffled off.
How would you have those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s treated differently?
>> This was on FR a few weeks ago <<
Yep, you beat me to it — that fascinating article and the related FR thread about oral spirochetes.
(BTW, I now brush my teeth with baking soda!)
>> Alzheimer’s is a general, broad-spectrum and poorly constrained definition <<
Did you read the fascinating article linked above in post no. 4? If so, can you say whether it breaks new ground? Or was the association between Alzheimer’s and oral spirochetes already a well-established factoid?
Strange. In the last twenty years I have known three people who were diagnosed with Alzheimer s and in all three cases their spouses also got the disease within a couple of years.
>> the research doesnt seem to support that saliva contains the disease IMHO <<
The link in post no. 4 gives me exactly the opposite conclusion.
I don't know how common it is for spouses to get it.
If they disease is caused by spirochetes in the brain, I don’t see how brushing your teeth with baking soda now is going to prevent the problem, aren’t you already exposed?
Perhaps the plaque on one’s teeth would only affect that person (since it is acceptable to that body in question). The only issue that keeps popping up in my mind is how many care workers of people with Alzheimers come in contact with saliva from spoons, plates, tissues... yes, even a bite and don’t get the disease. My only concern is that this is one interesting study. I don’t want people to overreact and start putting on those Hannibal Lector face masks on people with Alzheimers (or quarantine them) without a LOT MORE study/research has been done. (not that I would want it then either. I just don’t want the medical/nursing home community to overreact is my point)
from the thread, brushing with Baking soda helps kill the bug.
>> I dont see how brushing your teeth with baking soda now is going to prevent the problem <<
I’m not a micro-biologist or epidemiologist or anything else like that, so I speak strictly as a rank amateur.
But two factors come to mind:
(1) It may be that the brain’s total “load” of resident spirochetes, prions and similar organisms is critical. In other words, exposure up to a certain threshhold may not be particularly dangerous. Therefore, “better late than never” may be a useful prophylactic
(2) Immune-system senescence is an important problem for the elderly. So with younger people, the immune system may usually be able to zap the pathologic micro-organisms into harmlessness — whether in the mouth or in the brain — whereas the elderly simply can’t mount the same level of defense. So good oral health may be even more important for the elderly than for the young.
At any rate, be sure to read the material linked at post no. 4. It was a tremendous eye-opener for me.
Interesting, wasn’t it?
>> My only concern is that this is one interesting study. <<
Science in general and medicine in particular aren’t likely to be strongly affected by just “one” study. But additional research and experimentation will be done. And if they can replicate the results, then the medical consensus sooner or later will change.
A perfect example is Marshall’s “discovery” (although he really wasn’t first) that certain bacteria are the cause of most stomach ulcers. His radical claim almost got him kicked out of the medical profession in his native Australia. But as more and more studies came to replicate his findings, he finally received full vindication.
(Moreover, it’s now almost a trivial medical matter to cure somebody’s stomach ulcer. A ten-day course of antibiotics and acid-reducers will usually do the job.)
Don’t be concerned about “one interesting study.” Just wait a few years for the rest of the story!
Thank you, Hawthorn. You definitely made me feel better. I saw Alzheimer patients when my son volunteered at a local nursing home. It is a disease beyond cruel in my eyes. I truly hope and pray that science can figure out a way to eliminate it or stop the progression. I was just concerned that people’s treatment of such souls would become insensitive.
I have a friend who is caring for three members of her family who are in different stages of the illness. Her husband and also her mother and aunt. Her house is very interesting to say the least. I feel so sorry for her because she has a tough row to hoe caring for them.
That is true. Many things have been linked to dementia such as:
*Head trauma. One study done in the ‘90s of WWII vets found that those who were known to have sustained blows to the head in the war were much more likely to develop dementia. Also the well-known cases of boxers and football players suffering brain damage. It’s also worth noting that Ronald Reagan fell from a horse on his ranch shortly after leaving office in 1989. Coincidence?
*Exposure to toxic chemicals may cause brain damage. Reagan, Charles Bronson, Charlton Heston, Rita Hayworth, and other actors all suffered dementia possibly related to the makeup and special effects used in their acting careers (which often used nasty substances in olden days). Donald Trump’s father experienced AD as well. He was known to personally fumigate his hotel buildings.
*Infection. Old people do not have the immunity to fight off pathogens well. Various bugs could get into the brain and cause inflammatory damage.
*Diet. Diabetes may cause improper levels of blood sugar in the brain and impair its function.
*Anesthetic damage. The case of actor Peter Falk brought attention to this. He suddenly experienced dementia after dental surgery, and numerous reports of people suffering this have surfaced online. Slowing/stopping the heart during surgery may interrupt blood flow to the brain and cause damage.
AD is actually a very specific condition, but it cannot be diagnosed with certainty unless the brain is examined after death. Many so-called AD cases are not really this disease at all, but something else instead. Vascular dementia is often mistaken for AD, and sometimes the rare Lewy Body Dementia (which produces somewhat different symptoms than Alzheimer’s)
I saw it once while visiting my grandmother in the hospital (she was being treated for a bladder infection). Anyway, the room next to hers had an old lady violently fighting the nurse and yelling profanity. It was tragicomic in a way.
If you only saw it once, consider yourself lucky. I have no family history of it, and my grandmother only had some slight mental fogginess in her last year which I attribute to medication or possibly atherosclerosis (she died of an apparent stroke)
This old lady in the hospital was thrashing violently and screaming things like “Ahhh! Get your f*#%ing hands off of me! Get out of my house!”
“You reminded me of the only other time I have seen Alzheimers and it was funny and sad. It was the elderly wife of my mothers cousin. It was at a family party and this cousin circled through the group with a slice of cake on a saucer. She asked if you wanted cake and if you said no thanks, she smiled and was back again in 5 minutes asking if you wanted cake. This went on for several hours. She was like a 5 year old girl serving cake at a pretend tea party. It was very sweet and very sad, she was 70 years old.”
That’s unfortunate because 70 isn’t really that old (75+ is old). Early-onset, I guess. I’ve read of some real horror stories like AD patients fighting nurses, ripping their clothes off, smearing feces on themselves, etc. It’s like trying to contain a wild chimpanzee in those cases.
And then you have the really gentle ones like mentioned above and like Ronald Reagan where the person just becomes like a little kid.
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