Copper Not The Causative Agent
Many of us are familiar with prion disease as mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) that created a crisis in the global beef industry. Or the strange story of Kuru, a fatal illness affecting a tribe in Papua New Guinea known for cannibalism. Both are forms of prion disease, caused by the abnormal folding of a protein and resulting in progressive neurodegeneration and death. Today, the human form of prion disease is called Creutzfeldt Jakobs Disease (CJD). Even Alzheimer’s disease is now widely considered a prion disease.
While exactly how the protein malfunctions has been shrouded in mystery, scientists at The Scripps Research Institute now report in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) that reducing copper in the body delays the onset of disease. Mice lacking a copper-transport gene lived significantly longer when infected with a prion disease than did normal mice.
“This conclusively shows that copper plays a role in the misfolding of the protein, but is not essential to that misfolding,” said Scripps Research Professor Michael Oldstone, who led the new study.
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. 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 disease. He claims that all TSEs are caused by prions.
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. They 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.
Many factors are contributing to the epidemic. Prions are now the X factor. Industry and government are not accounting for them or regulating them. They are ignoring the threat completely, which violates the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 in the United States. Other nations also are ignoring laws developed to protect food, air and water.
“There is now real evidence of the potential transmissibility of Alzheimer’s disease,” 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. A second study by the same scientist in early 2016 adds to the stack of evidence.
Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. Alzheimer’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, chronic wasting disease and the prion disease epidemic is an area special expertise. Please contact Gary Chandler to join our coalition for reform firstname.lastname@example.org.