I found this claim in my study materials with explanation of amyloi plaques, in comparison to CJD (Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease).

Its characteristic are

  • Long doubling time of at least 5.2 days (I think this means the time it takes to double the amount of prions in the target organ)
  • NO Cypopathic Effect (CPE) in vitro
  • Long incubation period (about 30 years)
  • Vacuolation of neurons, amyloid-like plaques
  • Deficient immunity
  • Deficient immunoresponse
  • Deficient Interferen (IFN) production

so this suggests me that the person with infection at a young age can have the disease then at an old age. Other possible agent could be virus, but it seems that prion is the major one.

Can Alzheimer's disease be caused primarily by Slow Prion infection?


1 Answer 1


Dr Yong in the paper titled Prion, The unconventional slow Infectious agent states that the formation of amyloid plaque which is a major contributor to Alzheimer's disease is a unconventionally slow infectious disease (Prion). Some papers have also pointed out the similarities between Alzheimers and prion disorders (reference) Cerebral amyloid plaques have also been identified in scrapie which is caused by a Prion. Discovery of a novel prion disorder (reference) with peripheral symptoms have led researchers to believe that protein misfolding, is the basis for most neuro-degenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

With regard to your question, Alzheimer's has not been completely classified as a prion disorder as of now, but seeing that amyloid plaque formation (reference) and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) (a form of dementia) (reference) have been identified as being part of Prion disorders, it is highly likely that Alzheimer's is too.

  • $\begingroup$ I recall that Alzheimer is linked with demyelination or degeneration of motor neurons, particularly. So the target area can be different in Alzheimer than in Parkinson's disease. Intuatively, the main mechanism can be the same in both diseases but the patient's genetic material i.e. processes creating special environments around neurons in different parts of the brain determine where the degeneration is occurring thus determining which disease. It is also possible that there are different types of virion which cause the difference. But I have intuition that both host and virion are players. $\endgroup$ May 30, 2014 at 13:36

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