Joan Rothchild Hardin
Alzheimer’s & Factory Farmed Meat
Aerial View of a Factory Farm Where Animals Are Raised for Food
Here’s a list of the top 10 causes of death in the US. Alzheimer’s is in there at number 6 (Nichols, 2014):
Chronic lower respiratory disease
Influenza and pneumonia
In 2014, approximately 5.2 million Americans had Alzheimer’s disease, including about 200,000 people under 65 with early-onset Alzheimer’s. In 2013, 15.5 million family and friends provided 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care to people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. If they’d been paid, the care they provided would be worth $220.2 billion – nearly eight times McDonald’s total revenue in 2012. (Nichols, 2014) You’ll see in a minute how that particular comparison is especially apt.
Research shows a link between a pathologic protein called TDP-43 and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Lou Gehrig’s (ALS). TDP-43 protein has the same effect on the brain as infectious, toxic proteins which cause the brain degeneration seen in Mad Cow and Chronic Wasting Diseases, two types of bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Evidence of the connection between the pathologic TDP-43 protein and Alzheimer’s include (Mercola, 2015):
From 25-50% of Alzheimer’s patients have evidence of TDP-43 pathology in their brains.
Brain autopsies of Alzheimer’s patients with evidence of TDP-43 were 10 times more likely to have suffered cognitive impairment at death than those in whom TDP-43 wasn’t present.
Mad Cow Disease (the human version is called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease) is a form of bovine spongiform encephalopathy. It is transmissible, progressive, degenerative, and fatal to cows and humans.
Mad Cow Disease (the human version is called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, or vCJD)) is acquired from eating cattle raised in densely confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) – also referred to as factory farms. Cattle are natural herbivores but on factory farms they’re fed a diet that includes bone meal and animal byproducts made from other cows and factory-farmed animals. Mad Cow can spread rapidly and broadly when bone meal and waste products from diseased animals contaminate feed that’s given to thousands of other animals in different locations. (Mercola, 2015)
Scientists now think Alzheimer’s may be a slower moving version of Mad Cow Disease and the consequence of the factory farm practice of adding cannibalized animal parts and byproducts to the herbivores’ feed. When humans eat the meat of animals infected with TDP-43 protein, TDP-43 can infect and damage our brains too.
The vast majority of meat we consume in the US – from cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, and turkeys – is grown on CAFOs. On these big farming operations, the animals live packed inside buildings and are fed a completely unnatural diet of genetically engineered grains (containing the pesticide glyphosate – a serious problem in its own right) mixed with antibiotics (to keep the animals from dying from the effects of the unnatural diet they’re fed and the unsanitary conditions they live in), along with bone meal and other animal byproducts.
THE ROLE OF TDP-43 IN ALZHEIMER’S The Mayo Clinic recently conducted an important study which demonstrated a clear connection between TDP-43 in the brain and Alzheimer’s Disease. A description of the methodology and findings: Since the time of Dr. Alois Alzheimer himself, two proteins (beta-amyloid (Aβ) and tau) have become tantamount to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). But a Mayo Clinic study challenges the perception that these are the only important proteins accounting for the clinical features of the devastating disease. In a large clinico-imaging pathological study, Mayo Clinic researchers demonstrated that a third protein (TDP-43) plays a major role in AD pathology. In fact, people whose brain was TDP positive were 10 times more likely to be cognitively impaired at death compared to those who didn’t have the protein, showing that TDP-43 has the potential to overpower what has been termed resilient brain aging. The study was published in the journal Acta Neuropathologica. Mayo Clinic researchers studied brains of 342 patients who had died with pathologically confirmed AD and divided them into two groups based on the presence or absence of the protein TDP-43. The protein was found in 195 or 57 percent of the cases. “We wanted to determine whether the TDP-43 protein has any independent effect on the clinical and neuroimaging features typically ascribed to AD and we found that TDP-43 had a strong effect on cognition, memory loss and medial temporal atrophy in AD,” says Mayo Clinic neurologist Keith Josephs, M.D., the study’s lead investigator and author. “In the early stages of the disease when AD pathology was less severe, the presence of TDP-43 was strongly associated with cognitive impairment. Consequently, TDP-43 appears to play an important role in the cognitive and neuroimaging characteristics that have been linked to AD.” The study also found that patients who suffered from greater cognitive impairment and medial temporal atrophy at the time of death had greater TDP-43 burden and had the protein in a greater number of brain regions. “This is why we believe that TDP-43 pathology could help shed light on the phenomenon of resilient cognition in AD and explain why some patients remain clinically normal, while others do not, despite both having similar degrees of AD pathology,” says Dr. Josephs. “Our findings suggest that in order to have AD and be cognitively resilient, TDP-43 must be absent, so it should be considered a potential therapeutic target for the future treatment of AD. This study was funded by the US National Institute of Heath (NIA) Grants and supported by the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. – Anastasijevic, Mayo Clinic, 2014 Mayo Clinic Neurologist Keith Josephs, MD
Mayo Clinic neurologist Keith Josephs, MD, the study’s lead investigator and author, describes the research and its results in this video posted to YouTube on 23 April 2014:
THE MAYO CLINIC’S TDP-43 AND ALZHEIMER’S STUDY MAD COW DISEASE, A MAN-MADE PLAGUE The Center for Food Safety, after the 2012 Mad Cow outbreak, noted: Formally known as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), “Mad Cow Disease” is a persistent food safety concern in the U.S. and abroad. BSE occurs when cattle are fed rendered meat products made from other dead, disabled or diseased cattle or sheep as a feed supplement — or when chickens are fed rendered animals and their manure is mixed into cattle feed. Tissue from infected cows’ central nervous systems (including brain or spinal cord) is the most infectious part of a cow. Such tissue may be found in hot dogs, taco fillings, bologna and other products containing gelatin, as well as a variety of ground or chopped meats. People who eat meat from infected animals can contract the human version of the disease, known as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD). The disease slowly eats holes in the brain over a matter of years, turning it sponge-like, and invariably results in dementia and death. There is no known cure, treatment or vaccine for vCJD. Center for Food Safety seeks to end dangerous animal feed practices that threaten human health and the safety of our meat supply, such as feeding rendered animals to other animals. We urge the CDC to classify vCJD as a reportable disease so occurrences can be tracked and to work to plug the loopholes that still exist in FDA and USDA regulations. – Center for Food Safety, 2015 Factory Farmed Cows Eating Medicated Grain Feed
Mad Cow Disease is a man-made plague created by factory farming. In cattle, the Mad Cow incubation period before the animal becomes visibly ill is thought to be about five years. In humans, it can be latent for a decade or longer before manifesting as vCJD. (Center for Food Safety, 4/25/2012). It’s now illegal to feed beef-based products to cows. However – the beef industry is still allowed to use a feed called “chicken litter” consisting of rendered dead chickens, feathers, chicken manure, and spilled chicken feed … and chicken feed contains cow meat and bone meal. So factory farmed cows are still eating parts of other sick cows – and Mad Cow Disease is still around. Loophole number two: Cattle by-products are also allowed in the feed of pigs, chickens, and turkeys. And, under current laws, the byproducts of those pigs, chickens, and turkeys are allowed in the feed of cattle. (Mercola, 2015) On left: A brain infected with vCDJ, riddled with holes due to tissue destruction. On right: Normal brain tissue at a lower magnification.
The symptoms of vCJD (staggering, memory loss, impaired vision, and dementia) are quite similar to the symptoms of Alzheimer’s – and there’s no known cure. TDP-43 AND OTHER NEURODEGERATIVE DISEASES TDP-43 can also lead to other neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s or Lou Gehrig’s (ALS) instead of to Alzheimer’s. The particular disease which develops may depend on which area of the brain the proteins attack. (ALZFORUM, 2014) “Pathological TDP-43 appears to follow a set route through the nervous system, and what that route depends on the disease at hand. Two new papers in Acta Neuropathologica add TDP-43 itineraries for Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal lobar degeneration [FTLD] to a previously published staging scheme for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. “While the starting points and paths taken differ, the disease-specific routes suggest that TDP-43 travels from neuron to neuron along axonal highways… The TDP-43 stages fit with the ongoing theme in neurodegeneration research that these diseases are progressive not only over time, but also in space, as pathological proteins spread throughout the nervous system… “Overall… the FTLD pathology progressed from the front of the brain to the back. This contrasted with the ALS staging system, which began in the motor cortex at the brain’s apex and moved downward and forward from there.” – ALZFORUM, 2013
GRASS FED VS FACTORY FARMED MEAT If meat is part of your diet, it’s wise – for many reasons – to eat pasture raised, grass-fed animals when you can.
It’s good for the animals too. Wouldn’t you prefer walking around outside in the fresh air, feeling healthy, with the sun warming your back, eating food you can easily digest instead of being constrained inside in artificial light and filthy conditions, eating food and chemicals that makes you sick?
Almost all meat served in restaurants in the US is grown on factory farms. From –
This is what Functional Medical doc Frank Lipman has to say about eating grass-fed vs CAFO-raised cows: To save money, factory-farmed cows are fed corn (which is cheap and often genetically modified) instead of the grasses they’re meant to graze on. Corn makes the cows sick, so they’re given antibiotics. These meds also fatten the cows – so the system “works” from a business perspective. If you eat factory-farmed meat, you’re ingesting sick animals, plus loads of antibiotics. Buy only grass-fed meat, and whenever possible, get it at a local farmers’ market from small farms. – Lipman & Claro, 2014
“Dairy products aside, when past and present meat consumption are factored in, there is three times the risk of developing Alzheimer’s in meat eaters as opposed to vegetarians.” – Broxmeyer, 2005
For more information on Alzheimer’s, see Alzheimer’s, Gut Bacteria & Music. For more information on glyphosate and genetically engineered foods, see Moms to EPA: Recall Monsanto’s Roundup.
REFERENCES ALZFORUM. (11/23/2013). The Four Stages of TDP-43 Proteinopathy. See: http://www.alzforum.org/news/conference-coverage/four-stages-tdp-43-proteinopathy ALZFORUM. (1/24/2014). TDP-43 Routes Mapped in Alzheimer’s, Frontotemporal Dementia. See: http://www.alzforum.org/news/research-news/tdp-43-routes-mapped-alzheimers-frontotemporal-dementia Anastasijevic, D. (2014). Why Some With Alzheimer’s Die Without Cognitive Impairment, While Others Do? Mayo Clinic. See: http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/why-do-some-people-with-alzheimers-disease-die-without-cognitive-impairment-while-others-do-223585/ Broxmeyer, L. (2005). Thinking the unthinkable: Alzheimer’s, Creutzfeldt-Jakob and Mad Cow disease: the age-related reemergence of virulent, foodborne, bovine tuberculosis or losing your mind for the sake of a shake or burger. Medical Hypotheses, 64:4,699-705. See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15694685 Center For Food Safety. (4/25/2012). Press Release: California Cows Unhappy About Mad Cow Disease. See: http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/press-releases/706/california-cows-unhappy-about-mad-cow-disease# Center for Food Safety. (2015). About Mad Cow Disease. See: http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/issues/1040/mad-cow-disease/about-mad-cow-disease Hardin, J.R. (11/30/2014). Alzheimer’s, Gut Bacteria and Music. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/11/30/alzheimers-gut-bacteria-music/ Hardin, J.R. (5/30/2014). Moms to EPA: Recall Monsanto’s Roundup. See http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/05/30/moms-epa-recall-monsantos-roundup/ Lipman, F. & Claro, D. (2014). The New Health Rules: Simple Changes to Achieve Whole-Body Wellness. Mayo Clinic. (2014). TDP-43 and Alzheimer’s. Video. See: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/06/04/alzheimers-disease-cafos.aspx Mercola, R. (2015). Might Alzheimer’s Disease Be “Foodborne”? See: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/06/04/alzheimers-disease-cafos.aspx? e_cid=20150604Z1_DNL_art_1&utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20150604Z1&et_cid=DM78202&et_rid=979877762 Nichols, H. (2014). What are the top 10 leading causes of death in the US? Medical News Today. See: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/282929.php Walker, L.C. & Jucker, M. (2015). Prionlike Disease Processes May Underlie Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s: A chain reaction of toxic proteins may help explain major neurodegenerative diseases—and could suggest new treatment options. Scientific American, 24:1. See preview at: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/prionlike-disease-processes-may-underlie-alzheimer-s-and-parkinson-s/ © Copyright 2015 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Comments submitted prior to 8/25/2021
Well, since I try to eat food… It makes total sense to me to eat …well…Food… And this means grass fed, pasture roaming beef and their milk and outdoor pecking chickens and their eggs, pasture raised goat milk, and so on. I am willing to pay more and eat meat less often, but to know that the food I eat ate food it was supposed to eat … And lived humanely.
I see nothing wrong with eating animal products–humans are omnivores– but I do see plenty wrong with eating things that do not qualify as foods… And I see plenty wrong in mistreating animals.
There are places to buy pasture raised, grass fed beef and dairy and healthily fed, pecking in the farm on seeds and grains chickens and their eggs. Farmers markets have local growers and one can get to know them. Many of them are happy to show you photos of the farm and to invite you to stop by to see for yourself — they are proud of the work they do and of the conditions they provide for their livestock. In contrast, those who don’t want you around (like the animal farming places) have a lot to hide…
Good food is worth eating.
When I decide to become a hiena or another kind of decomposer I might consider eating cows that eat dead cows… Until then… No thanks… I’ll stick with vegetarian cows that spent their lives grazing in the fresh air. Am glad to pay a fair price for actual food instead of a cheap price for pseudo food….
This is an excellent treatise on the health perils of consuming factory farmed meats and poultry. Factory farmed fish is similarly obscene. The ocean fish are fed chicken litter, get sea lice, and although they are farmed in ocean pens, they are crowded together their feces and litter flow through the mesh of their pens and infect wild fish. Farmed catfish are kept in landlocked pools and also vastly overcrowded. Sadly, I am certain there is not enough grass fed meat and wild caught fish at a reasonable enough price to allow all humans to opt for that choice. The structure must be rebuilt! Thank you for this.
Campaigns have brainwashed people into thinking anything that fills the stomach must be food. I debated including this in the post & decided to leave it out:
The large gray pool of liquid in the photo of the factory farm operation isn’t water – it’s a vast holding pond of liquid manure from the cows who live inside the plant.