Alzheimer’s disease has been featured in the news frequently over the last few days. It just so happens that I’ve been finishing the post on Mad Cow Disease Fears in California and the indestructible prions that are believed to cause it when I noticed news on the rising incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in the US.
In the context of my writing, I’ve become curious what causes Alzheimer’s disease. I was blown away when I learned that the cause of Alzheimer’s disease are also PRIONS!!!!!!!
After all that we’ve been told about heredity, arterial plaque and age-related dementia, it turns out that Alzheimer’s disease is caused by the same agent as mad cow disease?! It makes one wonder whether there is such a thing as Alzheimer’s disease, at all. (To clarify, I don’t question the tragic reality of Alzheimer’s disease for its patients and their families. I have NO intention of disrespecting their plight or offending anyone. I wonder however whether it is in fact a disease in its own right or may be – just, maybe – a late stage of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, the human version of mad cow disease, which can take decades before producing symptoms.)
Alzheimer’s disease was identified earlier than mad cow disease, how sure can we be however whether the human variant of mad cow disease (Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease) didn’t infect some people before it became identified in association with mad cow disease? (It’s common knowledge that susceptibility to disease as well as diet vary from one individual to another and among genders.)
Don’t you find it amazing that the same agent causes both diseases we all fear and while UK keeps the ashes of incinerated, infected cows well-isolated from the public because even the ashes are still considered infectious, the same certainly isn’t true of those diseased from Alzheimer’s disease….
Mad cow disease was first identified in early 1980s. Alzheimer’s disease (even though it was first discovered in early 20th Century) wasn’t considered a serious disease in its own right until 1970s.
The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are not entirely different from those of a mad cow disease either and include depression, dementia and affected motor skills (Parkinson-like symptoms).
“Neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease is estimated to start 20-30 years before clinical onset.” (Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease could be described the same way!)
Mad cow disease was first identified in the UK. This is an excerpt from the British Website http://alzheimers.org.uk:
• “There are currently 800,000 people with dementia in the UK.
• There are over 17,000 younger people with dementia in the UK.
• There are over 11,500 people with dementia from black and minority ethnic groups in the UK.
• There will be over a million people with dementia by 2021.
• Two thirds of people with dementia are women.
• The proportion of people with dementia doubles for every 5 year age group.
• One third of people over 95 have dementia.
• 60,000 deaths a year are directly attributable to dementia.
• Delaying the onset of dementia by 5 years would reduce deaths directly attributable to dementia by 30,000 a year.
• The financial cost of dementia to the UK will be over £23 billion in 2012.”
In the US, the situation is quite similar, while the mortality rates for breast cancer, heart disease, HIV/AIDS and stroke have all decreased in the past decade, Alzheimer’s disease deaths have risen 66 percent!
It has to be said that I’m NOT a physician, just a wellness coach and a writer who by a coincidence noticed strange similarities between two very serious diseases that have a similar cause, similar symptoms and similar outcome (neither is treatable nor curable) and dares to question their conventional – and separate – definitions. I might be wrong, but what if I’m not? Will we all be eventually decimated by prions?!