Alzheimer's disease Braak Stage progressions: reexamined and redefined as Borrelia infection transmission through neural circuits

Med Hypotheses. 2007;68(5):1059-64. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2006.09.054. Epub 2006 Nov 17.


Brain structure in health is a dynamic energized equation incorporating chemistry, neuronal structure, and circuitry components. The chemistry "piece" is represented by multiple neurotransmitters such as Acetylcholine, Serotonin, and Dopamine. The neuronal structure "piece" incorporates synapses and their connections. And finally circuits of neurons establish "architectural blueprints" of anatomic wiring diagrams of the higher order of brain neuron organizations. In Alzheimer's disease, there are progressive losses in all of these components. Brain structure crumbles. The deterioration in Alzheimer's is ordered, reproducible, and stepwise. Drs. Braak and Braak have described stages in the Alzheimer disease continuum. "Progressions" through Braak Stages benchmark "Regressions" in Cognitive function. Under the microscope, the Stages of Braak commence in brain regions near to the hippocampus, and over time, like a tsunami wave of destruction, overturn healthy brain regions, with neurofibrillary tangle damaged neurons "marching" through the temporal lobe, neocortex and occipital cortex. In effect the destruction ascends from the limbic regions to progressively destroy the higher brain centers. Rabies infection also "begins low and finishes high" in its wave of destruction of brain tissue. Herpes Zoster infections offer the paradigm of clinical latency of infection inside of nerves before the "marching commences". Varicella Zoster virus enters neurons in the pediatric years. Dormant virus remains inside the neurons for 50-80 years, tissue damage late in life (shingles) demonstrates the "march of the infection" down neural pathways (dermatomes) as linear areas of painful blisters loaded with virus from a childhood infection. Amalgamation of Zoster with Rabies models produces a hybrid model to explain all of the Braak Stages of Alzheimer's disease under a new paradigm, namely "Alzheimer's neuroborreliosis" in which latent Borrelia infections ascend neural circuits through the hippocampus to the higher brain centers, creating a trail of neurofibrillary tangle injured neurons in neural circuits of cholinergic neurons by transsynaptic transmission of infection from nerve to nerve.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / microbiology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Borrelia / pathogenicity*
  • Borrelia Infections / transmission*
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Neural Pathways / microbiology*