Are Vaccinations Causing Early Alzheimer’s?
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
The issue of cognitive decline and the more advanced Alzheimer’s disease is predicted to be a public health crisis in America over the next 20 years, as the swell of baby boomers hits the age when problems manifest. This past week the Wall Street Journal ran an article on a man getting Alzheimer’s in his 40s, one of 500,000 Americans with early onset. The notion that this problem is striking ever earlier sent shock waves through the country and left people wondering why this is happening. Clearly, there are many inflammatory factors in one’s life and gene-related weaknesses involved. However, theoretical data on the inflammatory nature of vaccines, especially in the large numbers given to children at an early age while their nerves are developing response patterns for future life, means that they cannot be ruled out as one main factor that primes the Alzheimer’s pump.
We already know from existing research the recipe that leads to Alzheimer’s risk. Data coming from the Canadian Study of Health and Aging1 found that aging in general, fewer years of education (less brain exercise), and the apolipoprotein E epsilon4 allele were significantly associated with increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Other research has shown that heavy smoking and drinking2 speed the onset of Alzheimer’s. A sluggish thyroid also increases the risk.
On the other hand the Canadian researchers found that the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, wine consumption, coffee consumption, and regular physical activity were associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. There are many great anti-inflammatory nutrients3 that readily replace the concept of drug use, including the grape seed extracts of red wine (which have been shown to reduce Alzheimer’s plaque formation4). Natural vitamin E5 at the dose of 2000 IU per day has been shown to extend the life of Alzheimer’s patients by two years. DHA6 and folic acid7 have been shown to be protective against Alzheimer’s. Even the FDA has approved health claims for phosphatidylserine (PS): it may reduce the risk of cognitive dysfunction in the elderly and may reduce the risk of dementia in the elderly. Moderate coffee intake has a brain-activating effect, which would be synergistic with learning or other forms of constructive brain exercise that help keep your brain cells fit. Physical exercise is proven to elevate levels of brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) vital for your brain to withstand stress and inflammation and keep your brain cells living longer in a healthier condition. The common theme is that using your brain constructively helps keep it fit and factors that induce brain inflammation, of which there are many, send you in the wrong direction.
Besides the above, obvious factors that cause brain inflammation include a lack of sleep, emotional stress, physical exhaustion, cell phone use, and a poor quality diet. This means that there will never be a specific cause of Alzheimer’s identified, other than the idea that too much inflammation combined with genetic weaknesses will lead to the problem. Too much inflammation is the common theme behind all nerve-related diseases, heart disease, and cancer. Thus, the manifestation of various shades of cognitive decline will be common in the overall population and progression into full Alzheimer’s, compared to some other serious problem, will depend on genetic weak spots. For example, healthy children8 of Alzheimer’s patients have adverse changes in their brain structure before any symptoms appear. The greater the amount of inflammation, combined with an individual’s ability to tolerate inflammation, will determine the age of onset.
Recently researchers did autopsies on the brains of individuals who maintained sharp memory9 into their 80s. Those with sharp memory compared to the brains of those with “normal aging” had far less brain tangles. Thus we see a sliding scale of tangles, going from virtually none in true health, to the common averages of “normal aging,” down into the diseased ranges of cognitive decline, and eventually into Alzheimer’s. With this understanding, “normal aging” can be seen as abnormal from an optimal health point of view. Such brain tangles are driven by inflammatory processes.
The Immunization-Alzheimer’s Controversy
The adjuvants used in vaccines (putting the mercury issue aside) are intentionally highly inflammatory so as to provoke a more active immune response to the weakened pathogen. The fact that American children are the most vaccinated in the world at such an early age, when their brains are setting up shop, runs the high risk that vaccinations will “train” nerves to become more hyper-active to future inflammatory stress of any kind. Such issues would be magnified if a child had a history of stress in the womb, stress as an infant (unstable environment), poor nutrition in the womb or early life, other health problems as an infant, or has family-related gene weaknesses predisposing to Alzheimer’s (or any other nerve-related disease for that matter). These massive numbers of early vaccinations could easily set the stage for early onset Alzheimer’s. At this point there is absolutely no science that refutes this theory, and plenty of science to predict it.
Our government, bless their little hearts, has no interest in proving this not to be the case or in figuring out a safety threshold for the number of vaccines or the age they are given. Rather, they operate on the assumption that any number of vaccines is harmless. This public health mentality of fire a shot gun and ask questions later (or never ask any questions at all) is good for herd mentality and not so good for personalized wellness and quality of life.
Any notion that the treatment is problematic, such as a contributor to autism, is met with flat out denial. It does not matter to them what data is presented or what new science obviously predicts. Our government’s illness is their bizarre concept of control at all costs by unelected bureaucrats, risks be dammed. The bottom line, our government doesn’t actually care what adverse effects vaccinations may cause to your child, they are treating a herd.
This issue flared up back in 1997 when a leading proponent of the vaccine-autism link, Hugh Fudenberg, MD, presented his research at the NVIC International Vaccine Conference, Arlington, VA. His data showed that if an individual had five consecutive flu shots between 1970 and 1980 (the years studied) his/her chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease is 10 times higher than if he/she had one, two, or no shots. This data was never published in a peer reviewed journal. Supporters of Fudenberg describe him as “the world’s leading immunogeneticist and 13th most quoted biologist of our times (nearly 850 papers in peer review journals).”
The Alzheimer’s Association website attempts to discredit Fudenberg, but not the data he presented, stating that his “license was suspended by the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners.” This is true, but that was due to a classic witch hunt because of his anti-vaccine position. The Alzheimer’s Association went on to reference a meaningless study10 in which those with a negligible vaccine history had no apparent risk of Alzheimer’s. The data does not begin to approximate the potential risk of massive numbers of vaccines given to American children and future Alzheimer’s risk.
Thus, the question of the immunization link to Alzheimer’s is an open-ended and controversial issue. A responsible government would have demanded animal studies with different levels of immunizations at different ages in relation to the onset of Alzheimer’s. These studies aren’t being conducted because OUR GOVERNMENT DOES NOT WANT TO KNOW THE ANSWER.
Since Americans are more vaccinated than Europeans, a detailed analysis of vaccine amounts compared to Alzheimer’s risk or early onset of Alzheimer’s could be conducted. However, if the government is behind this study they will use statistical techniques that water down the results so that risk disappears, the favorite strategy employed when any drug or medicine has potential risks that would cause people not to take them.
Stopping Problems Early
Regardless of factors that set the stage for Alzheimer’s it is quite clear that an overall strategy that balances your inflammation checkbook is central to preventing the problem. On one side of the equation is the wear and tear in your life. On the other side is the healthy things you do to rejuvenate and recover. No matter what you believe in, you better figure out a way to balance this checkbook.
We definitely know that it takes many years of wear and tear for full blown Alzheimer’s to manifest. It is vital to act aggressively to prevent the problem if you are sliding down the Alzheimer’s slope. Managing inflammatory stressors is at the top of your list. It is easiest to make changes in your brain before the problem gets large. Various memory glitches are normal and others are not. The Alzheimer’s Association does have a list of the ten warning signs that is helpful:
Memory loss.Forgetting recently learned information is one of the most common early signs of dementia. A person begins to forget more often and is unable to recall the information later.
Forgetting names or appointments occasionally.
Difficulty performing familiar tasks.People with dementia often find it hard to plan or complete everyday tasks. Individuals may lose track of the steps involved in preparing a meal, placing a telephone call or playing a game.
Occasionally forgetting why you came into a room or what you planned to say.
Problems with language.People with Alzheimer’s disease often forget simple words or substitute unusual words, making their speech or writing hard to understand. They may be unable to find the toothbrush, for example, and instead ask for “that thing for my mouth.”
Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.
Disorientation to time and place.People with Alzheimer’s disease can become lost in their own neighborhood, forget where they are and how they got there, and not know how to get back home.
Forgetting the day of the week or where you were going.
Poor or decreased judgment.Those with Alzheimer’s may dress inappropriately, wearing several layers on a warm day or little clothing in the cold. They may show poor judgment, like giving away large sums of money to telemarketers.
Making a questionable or debatable decision from time to time.
Problems with abstract thinking.Someone with Alzheimer’s disease may have unusual difficulty performing complex mental tasks, like forgetting what numbers are for and how they should be used.
Finding it challenging to balance a checkbook.
Misplacing things.A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places: an iron in the freezer or a wristwatch in the sugar bowl.
Misplacing keys or a wallet temporarily.
Changes in mood or behavior.Someone with Alzheimer’s disease may show rapid mood swings – from calm to tears to anger – for no apparent reason.
Occasionally feeling sad or moody.
Changes in personality.The personalities of people with dementia can change dramatically. They may become extremely confused, suspicious, fearful or dependent on a family member.
People’s personalities do change somewhat with age.
Loss of initiative.A person with Alzheimer’s disease may become very passive, sitting in front of the TV for hours, sleeping more than usual or not wanting to do usual activities.
Sometimes feeling weary of work or social obligations.
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