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Welcome to the TSE Research Center

The PURPOSE of this website is to present information on the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE) in a clear manner and to provide easy access to peer-reviewed publications for those interested in pursuing the topic in a more detailed manner. This site emphasizes the work of Dr. Frank Bastian (Neuropathologist and Professor of Animal Science, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center) with regard to the role of spiroplasma, a wall-less bacterium in the pathogenesis of TSEs. The PROBLEM with most Government and University informational websites is that no attempt is made to critique the research reports, making it impossible for others to understand the significance of these data. There is much controversy regarding the causality of TSEs. Our research shows that prion amyloid (the TSE research focus for the past 30 years) is the result of a bacterial infection. This controversy directly reflects on Louis Pasteur's efforts to prove that replicating crystals are not

Data Supports Spiroplasma

Lines of evidence supporting the role of an extreme thermo-acidophilic bacterium (spiroplasma sp.) in the pathogenesis of chronic wasting disease and the other transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. MORPHOLOGICAL SPIROPLASMA IDENTIFIED BY TEM IN CJD BRAIN TISSUES SPIROPLASMA IN AQUEOUS FLUID OF SHEEP WITH TERMINAL SCRAPIE EXPERIMENTALLY SPIROPLASMA-INFECTED ANIMAL MODEL RAT MODEL  SPIROPLASMA INDUCES SPONGIFORM ENCEPHALOPATHY DEER MODEL CLINICAL EVIDENCE OF BRAIN STEM LESIONS MORPHOLOGICAL EVIDENCE OF BRAIN STEM LESION RUMINANT MODEL- SHEEP AND GOATS MORPHOLOGICAL EVIDENCE OF BRAIN STEM LESION LOCALIZATION TO EYES- RETINOPATHY MOLECULAR DETECTION OF ORGANISM IN TSE-AFFECTED TISSUES (PCR) CULTURE OF SPIROPLASMA FROM CWD & OTHER TSE-AFFECTED TISSUES PASSAGE IN EMBRYONATED EGGS GROWTH IN CELL-FREE BRUCELLA SPECIAL MEDIA GROWTH ON AGAR WITH FORMATION OF SUBSURFACE PLAQUES IDENTICAL BIOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF TRANSMISSIBLE TSE AGENT AS SHOWN BY ENUMERATION OF SUBSURFACE PLACUES O

A Historical Note

Dr. Bastian has been researching the pathogenesis of the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE) for over four decades. He grew up in Saskatchewan, Canada (a current hotbed of the ongoing panzootic of chronic wasting disease (CWD), a rapidly spreading TSE in deer, moose, and elk populations. CWD was discovered to have spread from Fort Collins, Colorado to currently involve 29 States and four Canadian provinces). CWD has also a global presence involving deer populations in Europe and recently found in reindeer herds in Sweden and Norway. CWD is also affecting the cervid population in South Korea. Dr. Bastian is a Neuropathologist trained under Professor Steven Vogel at Duke Medical School in Durham NC (1968-1972). In the 1960s the transmissible agent of scrapie (a TSE known for over 300 years in sheep) would not pass through a 100 nanometers filter (the size of a large virus thus the idea of a slow virus disease- a Herpes virus measures 140 nanometers in diameter and is easily v

Interview with an expert

Spiroplasma may cause Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.  An interview with a leading expert in infectious diseases: Dr. Frank Bastian. What is Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD?) CJD is a transmissible disease characterized by spongy degeneration of the brain. It strikes about one in 1 million people annually. About 5% of CJD cases occur in families or among certain ethnic groups. The disease has been transmitted inadvertently during medical treatment and surgical procedures. CJD has been transmitted by the administration of growth hormone derived from the pituitary glands of people who died from CJD. The disease also has been transmitted by transplantation of corneas and dura tissue obtained from people who died from CJD. CJD has been transmitted experimentally to monkeys by oral feeding of contaminated tissue and to lab animals by infusion of white cells. CJD symptoms usually appear when people are in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. Ninety percent of people with CJD die within a year of the onset of

Spiroplasma and Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies

 by Ed Gehrman Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE) is identified by the plaques of mutated amyloid protein that form within the brain tissue and destroy synapses and neurotransmitter functions and take on a characteristic sponge or Swiss cheese appearance. CJD, Scrapie and Kuru are all members of this degenerative disease family, afflictions known about for over two hundred years but not studied intently until the early sixties when they were found to be transmissible. Read the rest of the article HERE

Using Wolves as First Responders Against CWD

  From New York Times: Some scientists say that the predators are essential to curbing the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease because they pick off weak deer.  Are the wolves of Yellowstone National Park the first line of defense against a terrible disease that preys on herds of wildlife? That’s the question for a research project underway in the park, and preliminary results suggest that the answer is yes. Researchers are studying what is known as the predator cleansing effect, which occurs when a predator sustains the health of a prey population by killing the sickest animals. If the idea holds, it could mean that wolves have a role to play in limiting the spread of chronic wasting disease, which is infecting deer and similar animals across the country and around the world. Experts fear that it could one day jump to humans. “There is no management tool that is effective” for controlling the disease, said Ellen Brandell, a doctoral student in wildlife ecology at Penn State University w

Dr. Bastian Remarks On TSE Association With Squirrels

THE POSSIBLE ASSOCIATION OF TSE WITH SQUIRRELS - FO Bastian I was indirectly involved and am mentioned in the New Yorker article regarding whether squirrels could be a reservoir for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in humans. The young neurologist who reported the association was a trainee at USA (University of South AL where I was the neuropathologist. At a conference. I presented a case of CJD from Foley AL who routinely ate fresh squirrel brains. I also mentioned that the CJD case at Baylor wherein I discovered the spiroplasma inclusion by electron microscopy (reported in 1979) was a patient who was an avid squirrel brain eater. I also had received a consultation regarding a man in West VA who was a survivalist who ate fresh squirrel brains mixed with fresh eggs. As you know the New Yorker Magazine made fun of the Lancet report by the Kentucky doctors suggesting that Kentuckians are in danger of getting CJD from road kill. Unfortunately, the senior author of the Lancet article said i

Don't Eat Squirrel Brains

Each year many Monroe Countians are among the thousands of Georgians that take to the wood in hopes of bagging a few squirrels. Some of the reasons why squirrel hunting is so popular include: It is a sport that can be enjoyed by hunters of all ages; squirrels offer a real challenge, and bushy tails make a tasty meal. However, there is a problem with the third reason; eating squirrel brains can prove to be fatal.  Read the full article   HERE .

2300 Humans A Day

  What follows are two articles about recent work performed by Dr. Frank Bastian and a response by Frank Although Dr. Frank Bastian's research concerning Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has not been able to be replicated by other researchers, the Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania (USP) is continuing to support his research. To review: Bastian believes that spiroplasma bacteria cause CWD in deer and other cervids. Conventional research has determined that misfolded proteins called prions cause CWD. Bastian believes that the prions are byproducts of the bacterial action. For a number of years, Bastian has said that the first thing his research will develop is a kit that will allow hunters to test harvested deer for CWD in the field. The second thing he believes he can do is to develop live-animal tests and vaccines for CWD. This would be a great help for the deer-farming industry in dealing with CWD. He also thinks he can develop an oral vaccine that can be used for free-ranging deer.

Major NIH grant will support early diagnosis of Parkinson's disease via skin testing

CLEVELAND, October 4, 2019--Wenquan Zou, MD, PhD, an expert in degenerative neurological diseases, along with his collaborators Shu G. Chen, PhD also from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Jiyan Ma, MD, PhD, from Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Thomas Beach, MD, PhD, from Banner Sun Health Research Institute, Sun City, Arizona, have received a five-year, $3.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for diagnosing Parkinson's disease (PD) via an innovative skin testing approach. Also part of the team is Steven Gunzler, MD, a neurologist at the University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center and the School of Medicine. The methodology uses highly sensitive technology to detect the presence in the skin of "misfolded" alpha-synuclein (α-Syn) proteins that are the cause of nerve cell dysfunction and death in PD.   Read the rest of the article   HERE .

Phage therapy: A different approach to fighting bacteria

  What is Phage therapy?  Phage therapy (PT) is also called bacteriophage therapy. It uses viruses to treat bacterial infections. Bacterial viruses are called phages or bacteriophages. They only attack bacteria; phages are harmless to people, animals, and plants. Bacteriophages are the natural enemies of bacteria. The word bacteriophage means “bacteria eater.” They’re found in soil, sewage, water, and other places bacteria live. These viruses help keep bacteria growth in check in nature. Phage therapy might sound new, but it has been used for 100Trusted Source years. However, the treatment isn’t well known. More research is needed on bacteriophages. This therapy for disease-causing bacteria may be a useful alternative to antibiotics.   Read the rest of the article   HERE .

Research Continues in the Cause of CWD

Chronic wasting disease is a growing threat to deer, elk, and moose in North America, infecting a larger portion of the population each year. The fatal disease attacks the neurological system and seems, at this point, impossible to cure. Adding another layer to this complicated issue is a recent discovery that might indicate that efforts to stop it have been misaligned, with silver-lined implications that could have dire consequences if not heeded.   Read the rest of the article   HERE .

Novel Spiroplasma sp. Isolated From CWD

  Novel Spiroplasma sp. Isolated From CWD Is an Extreme Bacterial Thermoacidophile That Survives Autoclaving, Boiling, Formalin Treatment, and Significant Gamma Irradiation Abstract Rapid spreading of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in wildlife and captive cervid populations has exposed lack of progress in deal- ing with the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE) of man and animals. Since the TSE transmissible agent was resistant to extremes in environmental and chemical treatments, focus was on an unconventional agent including the prion theory. Recent break- through research has revealed consistent isolation of a novel Spiro- plasma sp. from TSE-affected tissues that propagates in cell-free media and on agar. Here, we developed a live culture assay to test whether the CWD spiroplasma isolate possessed unconventional bi- ologic properties akin to those of the transmissible agent of TSE.   View the online abstract  HERE .  

Bastian Research Laboratory

GOALS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THE BASTIAN RESEARCH LABORATORY As outlined above, Dr. Bastian’s research lab has made substantial inroads into defining the causal agent of the TSEs. His work is based upon solid morphological data wherein he observed the helical bacterium in TSE-affected brain tissues. This evidence was supported by molecular studies which showed a definite association of a spiroplasma infection with TSEs. His recovery of the novel spiroplasma bacterium from all TSE tissues examined confirmed the clear association of this novel infection with the TSEs. It was noteworthy that his laboratory showed that the spiroplasma TSE isolate had identical biological properties to that of the transmissible scrapie agent described in the 1960s. The isolation of this organism in cell free media provides the opportunity to develop a live diagnostic test and a preventive vaccine. RESEARCH LAB The primary goals of the Bastian research lab is to develop a live diagnostic test for the TSEs ba