Stopping Dementia In Early Stages

Who am I?  My name is Thomas Grier, I was trained at the U of MN Medical School Duluth as a microbiologist. During those years I was a runner, camper, backpacker and nature enthusiast.

Eleven years later in 1990 I was disabled and diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and placed on a waiting list for a nursing home. 

In Spring of 1991 I was correctly diagnosed with Lyme disease, and began a slow and tortuous 25 year revovery that left me with a damaged heart, severe fatigue, seizural like episodes, and depression, but I was alive and recently able to resume work as a microbiologist. 

MS Research: I became interested in whether other MS patients were being misdiganosed like I was. Did they have  an incuarbale disease like MS or a treatable brain infection caused by Borrelia species of spirochetes?  

Since my illness was correctly diagnosed, I have been for over 20 years a researcher, writer, and activist fighting for better research to investigate the brain involvement of Borrelia bacteria in diseases such as MS, Alzheimers, and undefined neurological disorders. 

About 20 years ago I became friends with a pathologist doing Lyme disease and Alzheimer's research. His name is  Alan MacDonald MD, and just a few years ago we decided to team up and consolidate our efforts. 

Who are we?  We formed the Dr. Paul H. Duray Pathology Research Fellowship Endowment Fund.  (PHD-Fund)

A long title but our mission statement is simple: Through pathology (brain-autopsies) we would determine the true involvement of certain bacteria in the pathogenisis of Alzheimers, Multiple Sclerosis, Lewy Body Dementia, and other undefined neurological brain disorders. 

We developed special State-of-the-Art FISH stains that use DNA probes to identify the bacteria in brain tissue and then make the bacteria light up with fluorescent dyes.  No one else has our stains or our DNA-Beacons! 

Since teaming up with Alan MacDonald, what we have found in a very short time is that a high percentage of Alzheimer's patients have the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.

The Borrelia spirochetes are deep within their brains,  and often associated with the patient's Alzheimer-Plaques. We are now seeking evidence that the Borrelia biofilms that form in human brains help initiate Plaque formation.

Quite frequently we find another  bacteria in Alzheimer patient's brains: Borrelia miyamotoi is a Relapsing Fever bacteria that isn't supposed to be in the patients we sampled. We have evidence that patients in America have been infected for decades, but it is only in the last two years that we had the proper-stains to detect this pathogen. 

We believe that Borrelia miyamotoi is harder to erradicate with antibiotics and is better at protecting itself from the immune system the the Lyme disease spirochete. It is a new killer and crippler of patients that takes a heavy toll on the patients' mental faculties. 

The picture above is from a 51 year old lumberman from Twig MN who was bit by hundreds of ticks in his lifetime. Despite 7 years of antibiotics, the active infection with Borrelia miyamotoi survived inside his brain. 

The same patient had clear images of Borrelia burgdorferi in his testicle. This man was bed ridden for the last several years until the end of his life.  His suffering for two decades was unecessary.

What are we doing?  Alan and I want to sample as many brains with MS and Alzheimer's as we can to determine what bacteria are causing dementias, where the greatest risks are, and ways to intervene and treat these diseases in earlier stages. 

What is the money for?  We help train other microscopists on how to do a very specialized kind of pathology research.  

To do that we need very specialized microscopes called epi-fluourescent microscopes. The scopes we use cost about $6,000 and are outfitted with another $4,000 worth of Fluorite Zeiss optics and a special Darkfield condenser.  We need two more scopes: one for our lab in Oklahoma and another for traveling to teach Medical Students and Grad Students our techniques using our proprietery stains.  If we used new Zeiss scopes they would cost over $30,000!

Frugal:  We are frugal, and to that end I will repeat that no member of the PHD-Fund is paid. All work is done entirely on a volunteer basis. 

Stains: There is nothing more important to our work than the stains we use. They are what make our work dazzling!

The bacteria we seek are nearly invisible without proper stains. We have four DNA Beacon Probe FISH stains now, but there are over two-dozen other pathogenic Borrelia species that we need stains for. We can make these for about $3,000 a piece.  

Our development costs are about 10-100x less expensive than what a corporation or government agency would need to do the same work.  We are volunteers and do not get paid a salary. 

Equipment Needed:  In addition to microscopes we need a Nanoodrop CSF analyzer to help sort out species of bacteria that infect people.  Listed below are some basic needs beyond our current budget. 

2 - Epifluorescent Microscopes $20,000 total

1 - Nanodrop CSF analyzer  $10,000

1 - PCR Thermal Mutiplier 

12 - New FISH Stains 

1 -  Tissue Freezer

1 - Medical autoclave 

How soon do we need your help?  We have been self funded by our board members for years, but we now have a non-profit tax deductible corporation so we can accept tax deductible contributions.  Many patients have already benefited from our work and can be seen on my FaceBook page. 

We are available to everyone for questions and advice and can explain the process of how to donate tissues to our research. Our research is shared our spending and needs are transparent. 

How thankful will we be?  Over the years dozens of patients and famlies have asked for our help to do a proper brain-autopsy that includes searching for Borrelia bacteria in the brain.  

The response from the families when we find answers is a genuine reward all by itself. Please help us help others by contributing to our fund so we can complete our research and publish our work. 

No one else is doing what we do, which means no one is finding the results we are finding. With the best technology in microbiology today we want to prove the relationship between Borrelia spirochetes and serious neurological disease pathology.

To date not one taxpayer dollar has been spent on pathology based research on neurological Lyme disease.  To get better answers we need better research! Sincerely , Thomas Grier 


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Thomas Grier 
Duluth, MN
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