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Researchers Identify Virus and Two Types of Bacteria as Major Causes of Alzheimer’s

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by natasa778, Mar 10, 2016.

  1. duncan

    duncan Senior Member

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    @Kina , you may be asking the wrong question. Perhaps a better question might be where do people who have a history of Lyme die once they reach the age group of 75 and up, and how does this correlate with Alzheimers deaths.

    As for can Borrelia selectively pick the brain or any other organ? Well, it has a known tropism for tissue, but a possible answer might be found in those people who test negative for Lyme, and die of cardiomyapthy, only to, upon autopsy, have it discovered that it was Lyme that killed them. Lyme specific to arthritic knees is, of course, a hallmark of Lyme. Lyme encepholapthy is frequently specific to the brain; certainly I've read enough case studies to support that idea.

    And then again, Lyme can be a systemic infection, disrupting many organs and processes.

    The biofilm link doesn't have to be Lyme, though. It can be any agent that grows such structures, if I understand the theory rightly.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
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  2. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    So are you saying that in general, there is a strong polarization, as far as grants and funding are concerned, towards mainstream scientific ideas/theories or towards the ideas that currently have the strongest evidence base?

    If that is the case, would you consider this polarization a good or a bad thing? I guess that might be hard question to answer in the general case.

    Perhaps to answer it one would need to survey the history of science behind established medical knowledge, and see how many times the medical theory finally shown to be correct emerged from the fringes of scientific research, and how many times it emerged from the mainstream scientific view.
     
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  3. sarah darwins

    sarah darwins I told you I was ill

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    Cornwall, UK
    Not 100% sure, but I think McDonald has argued an association between neuroborreliosis and Alzheimer's, rather than 'lyme' (whatever that is).
     
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  4. natasa778

    natasa778 Senior Member

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    How on earth do you establish a strong evidence base for ideas that are 'out of fashion' and repeatedly denied funding.

    That same old about 'science progressing one funeral at the time' seems to apply here. Judging by the fact that we are in such complete darkness regarding prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's we'll need to see very many funerals for anything useful to start to happen.

    Someone said earlier something along the same old tired lines of 'it can be HSV1 because most of us harbour it and don't go on to develop dementia'. As most people don't develop shingles shall we conclude that HSV1 could not possibly be causing shingles? :rolleyes:
     
  5. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards "Gibberish"

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    You get on and do the experiment with no funding, like I did. It's an old fashioned approach but it worked for me. Funding is never the real problem. I never had any and I was considered the most successful clinical scientist of my generation at UCL. The real problem is having a good enough idea and working out how to test it definitively.

    Moaning about funding is OK in the pub but everyone has the same problem if they want to do anything original.
     
  6. msf

    msf Senior Member

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    If that is the case, what is funding used for? The after-publication party?
     
  7. msf

    msf Senior Member

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    Vermont, of course is the state that has the highest rate of Lyme, and therefore, is the least likely place for a lot of Lyme cases to be missed.
     
  8. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards "Gibberish"

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    You missed the point, Hip. The bias is towards trendy ideas with no evidence base at all. Usually playing around with animal models that are self-fulfilling. The ideas with a good evidence base are done and dusted and don't need any more research. If everyone agrees that they should all go and look for something that does not exist they can go on playing in the sand pit forever. In fact one of the trendiest things getting huge amounts of funding at present is the role of - wait for it - commensal bacteria. People are getting grants for millions of dollars for looking at bacteria in diseases that we already know the causes of. The idea that somehow micro-organism research is underfunded is just silly.

    I would not be at all surprised if the people writing this editorial get funding. It is just the sort of wild goose chase that is currently popular!
     
  9. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards "Gibberish"

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    Nobody actually cares. It is just a status symbol, like having a big car or two swimming pools. And it gets you tenure and promotion. So that you can spend more time applying for funding.
     
  10. msf

    msf Senior Member

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    I think they are looking for them in diseases that we don´t know the causes of: Alzheimer´s, ME, RA, ReA and so on.
     
  11. msf

    msf Senior Member

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    I think the problem with debates like this is the extreme positions, i.e. Lyme causes all cases of Alzheimer´s, or bacteria have no effect whatsoever on Alzheimer´s, even when they are present in the brain for years. It seems to me that the truth is much more likely to be somewhere in the middle.
     
  12. duncan

    duncan Senior Member

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    @sarah darwins , as I think you know, technically Lyme is strain B31 of species BB sensu stricto.

    But Lyme as we've all grown to know is any Borrelia Burgdorferi; that which infects the brain is NB. So MacDonald believes it is any Bb, not just B31 (at least I THINK that's what he believes).

    Horowitz and others suggest Lyme is (or rather, can be) an amalgam of TBD's; Lyme can be just one component of that aggregate.

    Miklossey thinks Alzheimers can be formed by any spirochete, including the ones which so liberally populate our mouths.

    @msf, I think you are right: Many like Miklossey, I think, may be suggesting that spirochetes are just one of many pathogens that can lead to ALzheimers, and not always; Alzheimers is probably the exception as opposed to the rule.

    @Jonathan Edwards , one man's wild goose chase may be another's...
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
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  13. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards "Gibberish"

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    After forty years of watching people chase the same goose you get to know they have wings and beaks and squawk.
     
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  14. BurnA

    BurnA Senior Member

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    Did you notice funding a lot easier to come by later in your career. ? Was there a dramatic shift at some point when they realised that maybe you were on to something ?
     
  15. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards "Gibberish"

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    Having proved my point I spent ten years making sure patients got to benefit from the treatment, fighting against NICE and couldn't be bothered to apply for any more funding. I needed a change so I started studying the mind and Leibniz. I have never wanted a big car or a swimming pool, I guess. I drive a twenty five year old Honda Civic, if I drive at all these days. Spend more time sailing.
     
  16. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    Well I admit I don't have a way of gauging just how much micro-organism research is being funded in relation to other research.

    But let's take a specific example that interests me:

    This 2007 study found that 40% of people who died suddenly of a heart attack had enterovirus infection markers in their heart tissues. Now at this stage we don't know if enterovirus is the cause of 40% of heart attacks, but if it is, then given that there are about 225,000 fatal heart attacks per year in the US, that would mean enterovirus infection kills 90,000 people per year in the US alone.

    Now you would think that with that kind of potential death toll, there would be a little more interest in figuring out whether enterovirus is indeed the cause of 40% of all fatal heart attacks. But I could find very little research on this.

    And if you look on the NHS website page for heart attack causes, all the old cliches are there — smoking, diet, obesity — but no mention of the possibility that heart attacks may be caused by contracting an infection.

    I am interested in this, because the suspected enterovirus that seemed to trigger my ME/CFS also caused three heart attacks in previously healthy people as it spread around my friends and family.
     
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  17. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards "Gibberish"

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    We have known for decades that Coxsackie B causes myocarditis. Nobody doubts that. But the reason why myocardial infarction in 40 and 50 year olds has plummeted in the last forty years (since there were rows of them on the ward when I was a house officer) cannot be treatment of Coxsackie, since there is none as far as I know. It does seem rather likely that the reduction was due to all the old cliches in fact - hypertension, now treated, smoking, now drastically reduced, poor diet, now very different from chips cooked in lard etc. The remaining few cases might easily be the Coxsackie ones. But nothing new there. What may be new is the finding by Cambridge, Edwards and others of antibodies to citrullinated peptides in a significant minority of males with myocardial infarction! And Dr Cambridge has always been interested in a link with Coxsackie.

    But that does not mean Coxsackie causes anything else much - disease mechanisms tend to be very picky and specific, not amenable to hand waving generalisations.
     
  18. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    Not suggesting that those old cliches are not playing a role, and I would speculate that enterovirus infection may still have been a major trigger back in the bad old days of chips cooked in lard. These factors like bad diet and smoking may have made things worse, and in combination with a virus, triggered a heart attack, or worsened the severity of heart attack so it becomes fatal.

    Incidentally, one of the three people who had a heart attack after catching my virus straight away went on to develop viral myocarditis and was in and out of hospital for 6 months or so for this, though the hospital did not test for which virus.


    Given the associations between coxsackievirus B / echovirus and number of diseases — including ME/CFS, type 1 diabetes, heart attacks, myocarditis, dilated cardiomyopathy, ALS — I don't know why a vaccine is not developed for these viruses.

    The studies I read about developing a coxsackievirus B vaccine suggest that it would be straightforward.

    I know the association is weak in some cases, especially weak in type 1 diabetes, but why wait for definitive proof that coxsackievirus B / echovirus can cause these various diseases, when you can create a vaccine that protects against these viruses, and then see if these diseases go into decline in the countries where the vaccine is introduced.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016
  19. barbc56

    barbc56 Senior Member

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    It should be the other way. First you find proof that this is the cause of diseases then develop a vaccine. Otherwise you might be exposing patients to a useless therapy.

    You do need definitive proof or as close as possible.

    Alternative medicine, unfortunately, often treats patients going on the premise that there might be a correlation but it's not proven. That's sloppy and unethical. It could also open the door to lawsuits.

    We don't really know what is causative, what is an effect or if a connection even exists.
     
  20. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    That's arguable, because often there is not a high degree of certainty in science, yet you still have to make policy decisions. Global warming is one example: it's not 100% certain that global warming is man-made and due to greenhouse gases. There are other theories that attempt to explain global warming as a natural phenomenon, such as the solar-cosmic ray theory of climate change.

    Yet even though we are not 100% certain that greenhouse gases are the cause of global warming, the consequences of not doing anything about it are dire, so there is then the imperative to act, even without a high degree of certainty.


    So if the consequences of not acting are potentially dire, this is when you may need to act even when your level of certainty is not so great.

    If enterovirus is potentially causing 90,000 premature deaths per year in the US alone, not to mention potentially causing ME/CFS and type 1 diabetes, isn't that dire enough to want to act?
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
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