430 – Lyme & Alzheimer’s

Alan MacDonald, M.D., is a pathologist affiliated with St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown, New York. His current research is concentrated on developing what he refers to as a new biology for Lyme disease, including the use of special DNA probes to detect Borrelia DNA in spinal fluid and in tissue sections from Alzheimer autopsy tissues.

Dr. Alan MacDonald: “Using the syphilis model, I began to study some autopsied brains, and found that I was able to identify spirochetes in autopsied brain tissue in the hippocampus, which is one of the areas that Alzheimer’s disease tends to target in every patient. I was able to grow spirochetes from autopsied Alzheimer’s brain tissue, and stain the spirochetes with special monochromal antibodies, through the techniques I learned and developed through the study of stillborn babies with Lyme disease. And those two positive results made me think even more strongly that some Alzheimer’s might be like syphilis, a late manifestation of the bacterial infection in the brain, not to say that all Alzheimer’s disease is related to Lyme disease, but some.

One of Dr. MacDonald’s most exciting research results comes from a uniquely well-documented case of one man who passed away from Alzheimer’s disease, Paul Christensen, and was autopsied at Stony Brook in Long Island. A firefighter, Christensen was diagnosed with Lyme disease when the Borrelia bacteria was found in his spinal fluid. He was treated for a short time by doctors at Stony Brook University Hospital and then released. However, his diagnosis of Lyme was followed by an eight year period of mental deterioration, and he ultimately died from Alzheimer’s disease.

Christensen’s wife, in an effort to support and encourage Dr. MacDonald to help educate the medical community about the connection between Lyme and Alzheimer’s disease, contacted him and allowed him access to study Christensen’s brain tissue for clues about this connection. Dr. MacDonald was “able to show that those areas of Alzheimer-type injury in the brain also lit up for spirochetal DNA, with special florescent dye attached to the DNA probe.”

Through his work in the thoroughly researched, well-evaluated Christensen case, which he confirms has been one of the most exciting cases he has worked on, Dr. MacDonald learned that using DNA probes allowed him another point of reference in order to show the spirochetal DNA in the brain tissue, and therefore, “make the connection between Lyme disease and Alzheimer’s in some patients,” he says.

The Canadian Lyme foundation has a number of links to my work, and also has published the case of Paul Christensen on their website: http://www.canlyme.com

11 Responses to “430 – Lyme & Alzheimer’s”

  1. My dad has Alzheimer’s. I can never remember him ever taking antibiotics and neither can my mom. He spent a lot of time outdoors (North East) Of his siblings and mother the only one to develop Alzheimer was him. They were not outdoor kind of people. Recently he was in the hospital for what they thought was pneumonia and he was given a lot of IV antibiotics. He didn’t have pneumonia but odd thing happened. He became more alert and talkative. Prior to this he would have died of thirst with a glass of water in front of him because he would never connect the glass of water with his thirst. To the shock of my mom and I he picked up a bottle of water, unscrewed the cap, slugged half of it down and then put the cap back on. I think he has Lymes and I think the antibiotics helped. It won’t make him better but the change is pretty amazing. He was never Dx’d with Lymes but we lived in Groton CT, Rhode Island, the Catskills in NY. In Groton in the 60’s he worked part-time at a Christmas Tree farm. Lymes was around because I caught it when I was little and the doctors were calling it a target allergy (late 1950’s). Keep up the investigation. I teach pathology at a community college part time and your theory makes so much sense.

    • Margaret,
      It’s terrific that you recognized a correlation between your father’s lucidity and the antibiotics. I had a very similar experience with a family member who was being treated for MS.

      You may have found in your research that Dr. Macdonald studied brain samples from brain cadavers of Alzheimer’s patients and discovered that 80% of his sample showed existence of the Bb bacteria. This led him to believe that Bb is a chief factor in the onset of Alzheimer’s.

      I hope you had a chance to test your father for LD. If not, please make sure to use one of the more reputable labs. A number of the larger labs generate inconclusive results. Possibly because they tend to test only a few strains of the over 300 strains identified thus far.

      Also, be careful with the antibiotics. If not used properly, their efficacy will be diminished and you may have a more difficult time combating the disease if indeed he does have LD.

      All the best,

    • I hope that you found someone to follow your dad and to help him get long term antibiotic therapy! I have read several cases where it can take years to reverse the effects. olease don’t give up.

      • sorry, I forgot to post two names that I am aware of who treat Lymes. Dr. Gregory Bach in Hamburg, PA and a Dr. Horowitz in Hyde Park, NY.

    • Hi , I want to contact dr Alan Macdonald ?
      How ? I have Lyme and being treated with parasite meds after reading his Alzheimer’s Lyme connection ! Want to tell results be part of study , give information to him ! Please reply Julie

  2. My mother is on Hospice care after suffering from Urinary Sepsis and end stage dementia. She is 83 years old and approx 15-20 years ago had hundreds of (seed ticks) while visiting my sister in a wooded area in Richmond Va. While visiting me in LI, I took her to a Family Practice MD who didn’t treat her for Lyme Disease. I feel so angry, disappointed, and saddened. My mother had dental implants placed and I noticed her mental status cleared up when on antibiotics for dental work. I am Nurse Practitioner who has a strong knowledge and interest in Infectious Disease and I currently work at DHS/Plum Island. How can I help with the research? In private practice I have always integrated my knowledge of Tick borne Diseases and feel confident the Serology Tests aren’t always accurate. I keep teaching my patients but would like to make a bigger difference. My mother is an amazing person and her body won’t be around much longer. With tears,

    • Carrie,
      I am so sorry to hear about you and your mother’s nightmare with this disease. I’ve lost my mother-in-law and sister in very much the same way.

      As a nurse, I am sure you know, the antibiotics your mother received during her dental work may have helped her LD situation or may have helped because of their anti inflammatory affects. Either way, if she is in a hospice, are you barraging her with antibiotics just in case of LD?

      Depending on her situation, you may want to try Maggie Meshkie in Woodbury, CT. She was a top physician in Tblisi but is not medically licensed in the states. Instead, she practices natural healing through immune rebuilding detox therapies. She has brought some Lyme patients back from the brink of death. I have had the good fortune of meeting these people and confirming their stories.

      Good luck to both you and your mom,

  3. Carrie, I too am sorry to hear of your mother’s battle. I too am a nurse and it saddens me the way the medical community brush all of these symptoms off. My veterinarian told me recently that 75% of the dogs in his practice are testing positive for lymes. if the dogs have it, then so do we!!!!!! I have a few friends who have now tested positive and are being treated. I am not sure if you have found a specialist or not. there is a Dr. Horowitz in Hyde park, NY and a Gregory Bach in Hamburg, PA. the sad part is that they will not deal with insurance companies and the testing and treatment is costly. best of luck.

  4. In my medical intuitive practice, I have often been consulted by family and friends of those whose parents or loved ones have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The origin of this disease is unknown, however much attention is being placed upon the growth of Amyloid plaques in the brain.Amyloid plaques are waxy and translucent protein-polysaccharide complexes that are deposited in organs or tissues during certain diseases. These deposits cause the degeneration of the organ or tissue involved. Amyloid plaques are associated with a number of conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, Hodgkin’s disease and Osteomyelitis..

    My very own blog

  5. To rule out spirochete infection, could one take minocin for a period of time. Thanking you in advance for your reply.

    • D,
      Are you referring to minocycline?
      I am not a physician, but IMHO, the worries of taking antibiotics undirected is that if you require it later on for any of the coinfections, Lyme,etc., you may be weakening the antibiotics efficacy. There are also a host of side effects that can be problematic, though, not treating early Lyme and allowing it to advance to late stage Lyme is generally worse.

      I saw significant improvements taking Rocephin early on and concluded that I did have Lyme. As it turned out, I did/do have a bad case of neurological Lyme. But, you really need a LLD to help recognize it properly.

      I hope this helped,

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