Pathology and laboratory medicine

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Laymen's question about pathology

I noticed this blurb from an AP story today:

" Scientists who examined brain tissue of Alzheimer’s patients after
 autopsy found that a bacterium called Chlamydia pneumoniae had
 invaded brain cells in regions where Alzheimer’s damage can be
 detected. "

It went on to say that this was found in the affected brain tissues
of 17 of 19 Alzheimer’s pateints, and not in 18 of 19 controls.
This may be opportunistic infection because of other factors,
but it looks like something to investigate.

My question:  Surely hundreds if not thousands of researchers
have viewed areas of brain affected by Alzheimer’s.  Why didn’t
they notice this before?

This is also a general question as I have seen a couple
stories come out like this – that in some incurable chronic illness
that a previously unsuspected pathogen is found in the majority
of cases.  Do pathologists not notice these pathogens unless they
happen to be looking for them or just not know what they are
and suspect it is human tissure somehow transformed by the
disease?

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posted by admin in Uncategorized and have Comments (2)

2 Responses to “Laymen's question about pathology”

  1. admin says:

    - Hide quoted text — Show quoted text -

    turf wrote:

    > I noticed this blurb from an AP story today:

    > " Scientists who examined brain tissue of Alzheimer’s patients after
    >  autopsy found that a bacterium called Chlamydia pneumoniae had
    >  invaded brain cells in regions where Alzheimer’s damage can be
    >  detected. "

    > It went on to say that this was found in the affected brain tissues
    > of 17 of 19 Alzheimer’s pateints, and not in 18 of 19 controls.
    > This may be opportunistic infection because of other factors,
    > but it looks like something to investigate.

    > My question:  Surely hundreds if not thousands of researchers
    > have viewed areas of brain affected by Alzheimer’s.  Why didn’t
    > they notice this before?

    > This is also a general question as I have seen a couple
    > stories come out like this – that in some incurable chronic illness
    > that a previously unsuspected pathogen is found in the majority
    > of cases.  Do pathologists not notice these pathogens unless they
    > happen to be looking for them or just not know what they are
    > and suspect it is human tissure somehow transformed by the
    > disease?

    My best guess is that it would depend on the type of stains they use,
    and what section they are looking at. With the right type of stain, C.
    pneumoniae isn’t hard to see at all – but you have to have the tissue
    that have them in them.

  2. admin says:

    The stain that is used is called a bielshowski stain, and can see the pathogens
    wonderfuly under the scope.