OPINION/MINI-REVIEW: The article linked to this post blurs the line between TDP-43 and prions. I believe “Dr. Mercola” does this intentionally. The point of the article is to dissuade the reader from eating meat. That’s fine with me – I’m all for it. But this is NOT an article to teach you anything meaningful about Alzheimer’s Disease and I think the title of the article exploits people’s fear about Alzheimer’s. Here’s why I say this:
I have a particular interest in neuroscience. The article that accompanies this post caught my eye and I feel compelled to post a few comments regarding the topic in case you encounter the article and decide to read it. These are quickly composed comments. Included are a few references. There are many many more in-depth sources to explore but I focused on a few basic statements.
“Pathologic” TDP43**—is the “major disease protein and has been characterized as a main hallmark of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)” and other neurodegenerative conditions…..”Abnormalities of TDP-43 also occur in an important subset of Alzheimer’s disease patients.” — TARDBP and TDP-43 are gene characteristics. Genetic traits are not contagious – yes, genes are passed on through breeding but you know what I mean – you cannot catch a gene from someone or acquire a genetic trait via your diet. CONTRAST this with the transmission of prions. Prion diseases or “transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are a family of rare progressive neurodegenerative disorders that affect both humans and animals…The causative agents of TSEs are believed to be prions.” I haven’t explored all the ways prions may be transmitted, but the most common one I am aware of is through ingestion of prion-infected animal tissue; however, it is not completely understood. I have friends who have a friend who is a medical examiner and it is my understanding special precautions are taken for autopsies on bodies suspected of being infected with prions.
**TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43, transactive response DNA binding protein 43 kDa), is a protein that in humans is encoded by the TARDBP gene.
Eur J Neurol. 2015 May;22(5):753-61; Mol Neurobiol. 2016 Jul;53(5):3349-3359; https://www.cdc.gov/prions/index.html; wikipedia
ENJOY THE ARTICLE!