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Might Alzheimer’s Disease Be 'Foodborne'?

Alzheimers

Mounting research shows there’s a compelling link between a particular kind of protein and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson's, and Lou Gehrig's disease.

What’s so intriguing about that is this protein, called TDP-43, behaves like toxic and infectious proteins known as prions, which are responsible for the brain destruction that occurs in Mad Cow and Chronic Wasting Disease;1 two types of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

Mad Cow Disease affects cows, while Chronic Wasting Disease is a neurological disease found in deer and elk. As explained in Scientific American:2

“Prions are misshapen yet durable versions of proteins normally present in nerve cells that cause like proteins to misfold and clump together, starting a chain reaction that eventually consumes entire brain regions.

In the past 15 years, scientists have learned that such a process may be at work not only in mad cow and other exotic diseases but also in major neurodegenerative disorders...”

As Many as Half of Alzheimer’s Patients Have Prion-Like Proteins

According to research3 published in 2011, TDP-43 pathology is detected in 25-50 percent of Alzheimer’s patients, particularly in those with hippocampal sclerosis, characterized by selective loss of neurons in the hippocampus, which is associated with memory loss.

Research presented at the 2014 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) also revealed Alzheimer’s patients with TDP-43 were 10 times more likely to have been cognitively impaired at death than those without it.4,5

But how do you end up with TDP-43?

CAFO—A Common Denominator for Mad Cow and Chronic Wasting Disease

While some prions6 serve beneficial cell functions; others, acting like an infectious agent, are known to cause neurodegeneration. TDP-43 is in this latter category.

The common denominator between Mad Cow and Chronic Wasting Disease7 is forcing natural herbivores to eat animal parts, so is it possible humans are being infected with TDP-43 via contaminated meats?

The evidence is certainly suggestive, and from my perspective, it’s just one more reason to avoid all meats from livestock raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Remember that nearly all meat in restaurants are from CAFO animals.

CAFOs are major warehouse-style growing facilities where animals are crowded together by the thousands, and fed a completely unnatural diet of glyphosate-containing genetically engineered (GE) grains mixed with antibiotics. That alone is a recipe for out-of-control spread of disease, both among animals and humans.

When you add in the practice of feeding herbivores meat and animal byproducts, the situation can become even more complex and problematic.

Mad Cow is a man-made plague, created by a CAFO system that “cannibalizes” herbivores, and it can spread like wildfire as the remains of a single diseased animal may contaminate feed given to thousands of animals in different locations.

We now know that one of the primary modes of transmission of Mad Cow Disease is by feeding cows bone meal and waste products from other cattle infected with the disease. As a result, it's now illegal to feed beef-based products to cows.

However, in its limited wisdom the beef industry still uses a feed product known as "chicken litter,” and that too can introduce Mad Cow disease into our food system.

Chicken litter consists of a rendered down mix of chicken manure, dead chickens, feathers, and spilled chicken feed—the latter of which includes cow meat and bone meal, the very ingredients that are supposed to be off limits for cows.

Pigs, chickens, and turkeys can also be fed cattle byproducts, and current laws permit byproducts of those animals to be fed back to cattle8 as well. This is a second loophole that can allow Mad Cow agents to infect healthy cattle—and you, should you end up eating any of these infected meats.

Similarly, Chronic Wasting Disease is the result of domesticating wild animals and feeding them an unnatural diet. The disease is often imported and spread via game farm animals.

Infected deer and elk shed the infectious prions in saliva and urine, starting around three months after being infected. They remain contagious for the remainder of their life, contaminating land and water as they go along.

Game farms cater to hunters who are more or less guaranteed a kill, and the potential for these infectious prions to spread to humans through consumption of infected game animals is another serious concern.9,10

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