In 2014, Dr. Leslie Norins, a veteran medical publisher and former researcher in infectious diseases and immunology, became interested in what was known about the causation of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). He undertook a two-year review of the scientific literature.
During that endeavor, he was impressed with the number of observations that seemed congruent with, or related to, phenomena and characteristics seen in infectious diseases. Was it possible that AD was actually an infection of an unusual type?
A small number of researchers had already been calling attention to these similarities, and indeed had even spotlighted various microbes as possibly playing key roles in AD. But their pleas, in a 2016 editorial in a research journal, for more intensive investigations at a higher priority had little effect. The government and non-government funders of most Alzheimer’s research continued their massive financing of studies related to amyloid plaques and protein tangles, the prominent protein accumulations seen in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. The sums of money directed to research on infectious possibilities remained paltry.
Dr. Norins therefore decided in 2017 to try to assist the acceleration and intensity research on the possible causative role of microorganisms in AD. He prepared a white paper (It’s Time to Find the Alzheimer’s Germ) and developed sponsorship of a “challenge award” (Alzheimer’s Germ Quest ).