Alzheimer’s disease costs the American economy $277 billion per year and is projected to increase to cost the U.S. $1 trillion annually by 2050. That is one-fifth of the government’s entire current budget. However, only $1.4 billion is being put into research and finding a cure. Furthermore, many studies shy away from mounting evidence that germs cause Alzheimer’s disease.
$1 Million on the Line For Research
Dr. Leslie Norins has offered $1 million to any research willing to verify if Alzheimer’s is caused by a germ. Moreover, he wants someone to step forward and identify the specific microbes (bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, etc.) that lead to developing Alzheimer’s later in life.
Discovering a germ that leads to Alzheimer’s would impact the way doctors treat infection early in life. It would also prove Alzheimer’s is contagious (and preventable).
Do Germs Cause Alzheimer’s?
Norins is not calling for more research out of the blue. There has been mounting evidence Alzheimer’s may be caused by germs.
Dr. Rudolph “Rudy” Emile Tanzi, an Alzheimer’s research, found there to be a possible link between certain germs and Alzheimer’s.Tanzi and his team of researchers were working on mapping out the microbiome of the brain. During this process, they discovered a potential link between the herpes virus and Alzheimer’s disease. Here is what he had to say about his findings.
‘The two biggest threats to healthy aging have had to do with dealing with infection,’ he said. ‘Think about it. When we increased the lifespan from 35 to 50, it was by covering the sewers. When we increased the lifespan from 50 to 75, it was with the use of antibiotics. Now we are looking for viruses in all of the major life-threatening diseases of our time—Alzheimer’s, cancer, Parkinson’s—and guess what? Infection is now cropping up in all of them.’
Additional Studies Find Evidence Linking Germs and Alzheimer’s
There has also been evidence that neurosurgeons are more prone to Alzheimer’s disease as well. In fact, they seem to contract the disease at a rate of seven-times higher than any other disorder. Other studies have shown spouses of individuals with dementia are six times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s themselves. Both suggesting Alzheimer’s – or what causes it – may be contagious.
Some studies have blatantly suggested viral infections can influence the progression of the brain disorder. If these prove to be correct, it suggests one day vaccines and antibiotics may help prevent dementia.
Still, More Research Needed
Norins, who is offering up $1 million for research, is looking for more. The germ theory, as he calls it, has been popping up in Alzheimer’s research for decades. In fact, Oskar Fischer, an early 20th-century researcher, noted a connection between dementia and tuberculosis. The more Norins looked into the literature, he noticed a pattern.
“It appeared that many of the reported characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease were compatible with an infectious process,” Norins told NPR. “I thought for sure this must have already been investigated because millions and millions of dollars have been spent on Alzheimer’s research.”
In 2017, Norins launched Alzheimer’s Germ Quest, Inc. The corporation will distribute the prize and, hopefully, help increase interest in the germ theory. Of course, even if germs cause Alzheimer’s, there are other possibilities for contracting the disease as well, including genetics. Altogether, more research is needed to find the cause of Alzheimer’s.
Readers, what do you think about the Alzheimer’s germ theory?