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Med Hypotheses. 2005;64(4):699-705.

Thinking the unthinkable: Alzheimer's, Creutzfeldt-Jakob and Mad Cow disease: the age-related reemergence of virulent, foodborne, bovine tuberculosis or losing your mind for the sake of a shake or burger.

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  • Med-America Research, 148-14A 11th Avenue, Whitestone, NY 11357, USA. medamerica1@cs.com

Abstract

The possibility of the age-related reemergence of foodborne Mycobacterium bovis (bovine tuberculosis) as a vector for Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD or human Mad Cow Disease) and Mad Cow disease itself is real. The CDC reported last May of an outbreak of CJD linked to the consumption of meat contaminated "with the agent causing" bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in a New Jersey racetrack between the time frame 1995-2004. In the opinion of experts, ample justification exists for considering a similar pathogenesis for Alzheimer's, Creutzfeldt-Jakob and the other spongiform encephalopathies such as Mad Cow disease. In fact, Creutzfeldt-Jakob and Alzheimer's often coexist and at this point are thought to differ merely by time-dependent physical changes. A recent study links up to 13% of all "Alzheimer's" victims as really having Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Bovine tuberculosis, which includes Mycobacterium bovis and M. avium-intracellulare or paratuberculosis, is and has always been the most prevalent threat to the cattle industry, and the USDA reports that between 20% and 40% of US dairy herds are infected with paratuberculosis alone. The health risk for milk tainted with M. bovis has been known for decades and there was a time not so long ago when "tuberculin-tested" was printed on every milk container. Schliesser stated that meat from tuberculous animals may also constitute a significant risk of infection. At the turn of the 20th century 25% of the many US deaths from TB in adults were caused by M. bovis. Dairy products aside, when past and present meat consumption are factored in, there is three times the risk of developing Alzheimer's in meat eaters as opposed to vegetarians. The investigation into the causal trail for Creutzfeldt-Jakob, indistinguishable from Alzheimer's except for its shorter, lethal course might have grown cold where it not for Roel's and others who linked mad cow in cattle with M. bovis and related paratuberculosis on clinical, pathologic and epidemiological grounds. The southwest of the UK, the very cradle of British BSE and CJD outbreaks, saw an exponential increase in bovine tuberculosis just prior to it's spongiform outbreaks. All of this brings up the unthinkable: that Alzheimer's, Cruetzfeldt-Jackob, and Mad Cow Disease might just be caused by eating the meat or dairy in consumer products or feed. It is only appropriate therefore to explore the role of bovine TB and the atypical mycobacteria in Alzheimer's, JCD and Mad Cow disease and develop better serological surveillance for these pathogens.

PMID:
15694685
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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