- 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.
- Broxmeyer L.
- Med-America Research, 148-14A 11th Avenue, Whitestone,
NY 11357, USA.
- 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
- 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.