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 it was reported in jest. The New Yorker also
interviewed me since I was mentioned by the young neurologist. I said that any claim can only
be made by experimentation.
The question can now be addressed since we have had a major breakthrough in our
laboratory wherein we have consistently isolated an extreme thermoacidophilic bactertum from
TSE-affected tissues. We can now test the idea by attempting to grow the bacterium in Brucella
media which allows growth of the novel TSE spiroplasma isolate because the special media has
low oxygen tension. Our success in isolating the bacterium from TSE tissues has been 100% and
now that we can grow the agent in cell-free culture, we can develop a live test for TSE and could
make an instant diagnosis from a dead squirrel.
Our research is attempting to deal with the chronic wasting disease (CWD) epizootic in
cervids including deer, elk and moose. The CWD epizootic, which is essentially mad cow
disease in cervids, is widely distributed in North America involving 26 states and 3 Canadian
provinces. As you know this has gone global wherein CWD outbreaks have occurred in South
Korea and Europe where reindeer are affected. The disease has even affected camels.
Zoos are in trouble.
Another misconception is the incidence of CJD. I am a Neuropathologist who has spent
most of my career in diagnosing CJD. One year 7 cases were found in New Orleans. The past
information regarding incidence of CJD was based on a French study done in the 1960s, and in
my opinion is out of date. The disease is under reported due often to lack of expertise by general
pathologists. I reported that 15% of Alzheimer disease cases are actually CJD. I made a plea to
the CDC to make CJD mandatory reportable disease and was turned down. People are dying of
CJD in the prime of life and there is no live test available and definitely no treatment options.
Detection of prion amyloid is only a test that can be applied postmortem or in a biopsy specimen.
In conclusion, there is an association of CJD cases with the practice of eating squirrel
brains. With recent advances in our research studying TSEs, we are now able to answer the
question by direct isolation of the novel spiroplasma that is likely the causative agent of TSE.
My young neurologist protege had the courage to report this association, which may prove
important in understanding the epidemiology of the TSE diseases.
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. Another thing he believes he can do is to develop human antibiotic vaccines to cure and prevent the impacts of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease that affects humans in the manner that Chronic Wasting Disease affects deer.
However, Bastian has been telling us these things for a number of years, but so far they have not come to pass.
Still, the USP, which is probably the most loyal supporter of deer hunters and deer hunting in Pennsylvania, has thrown its full support behind Bastian's research. After Bastian left Louisiana State University, he was able to set up another CWD research laboratory last June at the Advanced Materials Research Institute at the University of New Orleans. This is part of a partnership program known as the North American CWD Project that will be directed by highly regarded wildlife researcher John Eveland. Bastian is director of the privately operated Bastian Lab and has been granted a research professorship at the university, according to Eveland.
Bastian has joined forces with the Terra Cor Institution, a non-profit group, and several sportsmen's groups that support his research. The Terra Cor group is siting a second disease-control center in Pennsylvania, according to the fall issue of "Pennsylvania Woods and Waters," USP's newsletter. Also of note, besides the USP, the Allegheny County Sportsmen's League of Pennsylvania is a supporter of Bastian's research.
According to "Pennsylvania Woods and Waters," a million-dollar grant was approved by the Pennsylvania state government for the Pennsylvania center but has not been released by the governor.
If you want to support Bastian's research, you can mail a check made out to "USP" to Douglas Tyger, Treasurer, 184 Fairview Road, Kersey, PA 15846-9210.
Dr. Bastian just forwarded me your article from yesterday. I thought I'd send you a few thoughts while we're all holed up at home trying to survive another microbial nightmare. (I actually had to look it up not long ago to make sure that viruses could be classified as microbes.)
Not so many years ago, I watched as CWD was entering Pennsylvania and beginning to spread across the state without resistance as it had done successfully across America for the past half century. I have had significant experience with novel, virulent diseases of cervids in that as a young biologist at Penn State I discovered and conducted research on the brainworm disease in our Pennsylvania elk herd. Considering this, I realized that a malformed protein (prion) was not likely the culprit to be causing CWD, and began a search for another possibility. A research team at Yale had spent decades looking at a viral cause for CWD and other related transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) of animals and humans, and concluded that while a virus was not the cause, neither was a misformed protein.
I discovered Frank Bastian a few years ago, and spent at least a year looking into his work and talking with him. I concluded that Frank had, in fact, cracked the CWD nut wide open and had made what will someday be recognized as a paradigm-shifting medical breakthrough. As you have written, I formed partnerships and set in motion a project that I hoped would quickly give us the microbial treatments to finally control and place CWD in remission in Pennsylvania and across America.
When kicking off our project at our press release in the Capitol Rotunda about a year ago, I made a bold prediction that we would have diagnostic test kits and vaccines in about a year. At the time, I was aware of the resistance from the mainstream prion camp that Dr. Bastian had experienced for many years toward moving his work forward, but had not yet experienced it. Having it to do over, I would now qualify my statement by saying that our research timeline was dependent on the acquisition of adequate funding and samples of infected deer. Getting both has been a challenge, to say the least. However, now that we're a year into our project I give no apology for making such a bold claim considering that after about a half century of research the mainstream prion industry has moved the bar not one inch closer to our understanding of CWD let alone coming up with vaccines to control and eradicate the disease. In fact, now that we have had time to assemble a blue-ribbon team of expert biomedical scientists from the medical schools at LSU, Tulane, and 8-10 other universities and private companies across the country who have peer-reviewed Dr. Bastian's research and realize that he holds the answer, I am now even more bold in my statement that we can have diagnostic kits and vaccines within 8-16 months -- with adequate funding and samples.
Richard, there is much more at stake regarding Dr. Bastian's discovery than just CWD -- not that this is a trivial endeavor. There are an estimated 15,000 CWD-infected deer that are being eaten by hunters and their families each year. Considering the number of family members and friends who might be eating these CWD-infected deer, we could be looking at a rapidly growing reservoir of humans who are at grave risk in the future. Dr. Bastian's diagnostic cervid test kit would provide hunters with an immediate test in the field at the point of harvest as to whether their deer are infected -- preventing them from eating infected animals. The current prion-based test takes weeks and longer at which time deer could be partially consumed. However, a test that is based on prions does not mean that a deer that tests negative is not infected in that it could be incubating Dr. Bastian's bacterium and real cause of the disease for 12 months or more before prions manifest. His diagnostic human test kit will allow hunters to test themselves and their families for possible infection. Now let's throw in a bacterial-based live-animal test and vaccines. Currently proposed research on a prion-based live-animal test will be practically useless in that a negative-testing deer could have been harboring the bacterium for a year.
Two weeks ago, we doubled the size of our New Orleans' lab thanks to the hard work of Unified Sportsmen and Allegheny County Sportsmen's League in providing much needed funding. This action is intended to set the stage for moving more rapidly on solving the CWD epidemic, but especially to prepare for research on related human neurological diseases. These diseases are now resulting in the deaths of about 2,300 humans per day, and Dr. Bastian has isolated the cause of one of these human TSE diseases as being caused by his previously unknown bacterium with a strong indication that some or all of this group of human neurodegenerative diseases are caused by his Spiroplasma sp. bacterium. These diseases include Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD), Parkinson's, ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease, and Azheimer's. They say there's a new Alzheimer's patient diagnosed every 68 seconds, and no one ever survives AD. We all should be encouraging and supporting the research of Dr. Bastian considering the magnitude of the crises that he is trying to address.
Personally, I am now at the age that I would like to be fishing with my grandkids. Instead, I am compelled to assist Dr. Bastian in anyway possible to see that this project succeeds. I could not live with myself if I turned my back on not only a solution to CWD, but toward saving tens, hundreds, and possibly millions of people per year.
Like COVID-19, we have been and continue to face another microbial outbreak for which we have scratched our heads and accepted failure in a solution for a century and more while many millions of people have died from these always-fatal neurological diseases. It's difficult now competing with COVID-19 for funding and interest, but today 2,300 people and their families wish that this were not the case, and another 2,300 tomorrow.
We have two problems.
Money- funding agencies are all supporting the failed prion theory. I have uncovered a scary extreme thermoacidophilic bacterium that is far more important than the corona virus ( which will likely die out before vaccines are available)TSE samples. The USDA and Wildlife agencies are hoarding CWD samples. The only ones with access are the prion groups because of governmental bias,. They have a transfer agreement which the Universities will not sign since it impinges on academic freedom and patent rights. Their main emphasis is on lowering deer numbers with sharpshooters and ways to dispose of the bodies.My Pennsylvania support group have run into political roadblocks regarding both funding and availability of samples
What a mess. If you have a billionaire friend who is interested ion preventing a disaster in the wildlife population, send him my way.
Your support is appreciated and encourages me to continue this quest although at times the future appears bleak in spite of our success. One friend joked that my research will be rediscovered 10 to 20 years after I quit the quest.