Alzheimer’s and Lyme disease

The following blog post was written by guest blogger and Lyme patient, John Benson-Bunch. It is intended as a thought piece and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Caudwell LymeCo. 

“Borrelia DNA has been found in 100% of 100 Alzheimer’s plaques examined.”

Dr Alan MacDonald

Introduction

Over a century ago Dr Alzheimer was already discussing the possibility of an infectious pathogen as an explanation for Alzheimer’s disease (1,2). Indeed, it is well established that dementia can be caused by Syphilis, a chronic spirochaetal infection related to Lyme disease. Over the last three decades, pathologist Dr Alan MacDonald has studied the possibility of Borrelia as a cause of Alzheimer’s. Independently, Dr Judith Miklossy (Director of the Alzheimer Research Centre in Switzerland) validated and replicated all MacDonald’s findings, providing a rich body of peer reviewed papers revealing inescapable evidence: spirochetes, particularly Borrelia, are a plausible cause of Alzheimer’s.

Evidence

Perhaps the most convincing evidence is that Borrelia DNA was found in every single one of 100 Alzheimer’s plaques versus none in controls by MacDonald. The testing used the best equipment available, Molecular Beacon DNA probes, which are 100% accurate. Furthermore, Borrelia spirochetes were photographed by microscopy in every case. Macdonald proposed that plaques causing Alzheimer’s are a result of Borrelia biofilm*. The research was duplicated in January 2016 by an independent research team who concluded “Our findings demonstrate that plaques, which are characteristically found in Alzheimer’s disease brains, reveal the presence of biofilms. These biofilms are undoubtedly made by the spirochetes present there.” (3).

Amazingly, since 1987 MacDonald has cultured Borrelia from Alzheimer’s brain tissue multiple times (4,5,6). In 2007, using samples from the McLean Hospital Brain Bank of Harvard University, seven out of ten cases were successfully cultured for Borrelia (6). Miklossy also cultured Borrelia, found spirochetes in the blood, cerebrospinal fluid and brain tissue versus none in controls [1993] (7). Spirochetes were visualized using scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy and a further study confirmed them to be Borrelia [2004, 1994] (12,13). Compiling the literature, spirochetes in the brain were observed in more than 90% of Alzheimer’s cases, 25.3% of which were confirmed as Borrelia [2011] (8).

Various authors in diverse laboratories, in different countries, using different techniques have detected spirochetes in Alzheimer’s; a total of fourteen studies. A review of this literature by Miklossy indicates the Koch and Hill criteria (designed to establish a causative relationship between a microbe and a disease) “has shown to be in favour of a causal relationship between neurospirochetosis and Alzheimer’s” [2011] (8).

Illustration of spirochetes in the cerebrospinal fluid (A, B) and isolated from the cerebral cortex (D, E) compared to reference spirochete (C)(Borrelia burgdorferi B 31 strain) in patients suffering from neuropathologically confirmed Alzheimer's disease.
Illustration of spirochetes in the cerebrospinal fluid (A, B) and isolated from the cerebral cortex (D, E) compared to reference spirochete (C)(Borrelia burgdorferi B 31 strain) in patients suffering from neuropathologically confirmed Alzheimer’s disease.

The clinical findings are equally convincing. Lyme disease expert Dr Horowitz, who was recently published in the British Medical Journal, said: “I have seen elderly patients with a diagnosis of dementia, with cognitive deficits, given drugs prescribed for Alzheimer’s, such as Aricept and Namenda, which slow down (but do not reverse) their cognitive decline. But I have seen improvements in their cognitive functioning after treating them for chronic tick-borne infections…” (9)

“The majority of our Lyme disease patients…have severe memory and concentration problems.” (10)

Conclusion

In 1993 in a peer reviewed paper, “Alzheimer’s disease–a spirochetosis?” (7), the scientific journal NeuroReport read (11):

“If the current findings are confirmed in other laboratories, this would certainly rank among the most significant contributions in the history of medicine”.

Since 1993, MacDonald and Miklossy have gathered strong evidence suggesting Alzheimer’s is caused by a neurospirochetosis. So far, no attempts have been made to corroborate further these significant findings much to the detriment of both governments and patients.

Miklossy: “…one might prevent and eradicate dementia. The impact on healthcare costs and on the suffering of the patients would be substantial.” (8)

MacDonald: “Early detection of Borrelia brain infection offers the opportunity for the patient to be treated in the hope that [we can] prevent the development of dementia.”

*Biofilm – a colony of microorganisms embedded within a protective layer of slimy matrix (extracellular polymeric substance) e.g dental plaque.

© 2016 by John Benson-Bunch

References

1. Goedert. M. Oskar Fischer and the study of dementia. 2009 Brain 009: 132; 1102–1111 2. Möller. HJ. The case described by Alois Alzheimer in 1911. Historical and conceptual perspectives based on the clinical record and neurohistological sections.

3. Herbert B. Allen, Diego Morales, Krister Jones, Suresh Joshi. Alzheimer’s Disease: A Novel hypothesis integrating spirochetes, biofilm, and the immune system. Journal of Neuroinfectious Diseases. 2016 J Neuroinfectious Diseases 7:1

4. MacDonald A. et al. Concurrent neocortical Borreliosis and Alzheimer’s disease. 1987 Human Pathology 18:759–761

5. MacDonald A. Cystic Borrelia in Alzheimer’s disease and in non-dementia neuroborreliosis. 2006 Alzheimer’s & Dementia the Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association. Volume 2, Issue 3, Supplement, Page S433

6. MacDonald A. Alzheimer’s neuroborreliosis with trans-synaptic spread of infection and neurofibrillary tangles derived from intraneuronal spirochetes. 2007 Medical Hypotheses 68,822–825 7. Miklossy J. Alzheimer’s disease–a spirochetosis? Neuroreport. 1993 Jul;4(7):841-8.

8. Miklossy J. Alzheimer’s disease – a neurospirochetosis. Analysis of the evidence following Koch’s and Hill’s criteria. 2011. J Neuroinflammation. 8: 90

9. Horowitz, R. Why Can’t I Get Better: Solving the Mystery of Lyme & Chronic Disease. Location 531.

10. Horowitz, R. Why Can’t I Get Better: Solving the Mystery of Lyme & Chronic Disease. Location 517.

11. Hammond, R et al. Alzheimer’s disease and spirochetes; a questionable relationship: A commentary on the Research Artle by Judith Miklossy enititled “Alzheimer’s disease- a spirochetosis?”. Neuroreport July 1993 – Volume 4 – Issue 7 – ppg 840

12. Miklossy J, Khalili K, Gern L, et al. Borrelia burgdorferi persists in the brain in chronic neuroborreliosis and may be associated with Alzheimer disease. J Alzheimer’s Disease 2004;6:639–49 13. Miklossy J, Kasas S, Janzer RC, Ardizzoni F, Van der Loos H. Further ultrastructural evidence that spirochaetes may play a role in the aetiology of Alzheimer’s disease. 1994 Neuroreport. 2;5(10):1201-4.

Photograph by Michela Metcalf

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