AR-News: (CA/US-ct) New research indicates human form of mad cow more complex than first thought

Animalconcerns info at animalconcerns.org
Sun Jan 18 17:32:33 EST 2004


[from Canadian Press]

(CP) - New research suggests that the human form of mad cow disease is a
lot more complicated than originally thought, and, potentially, much scarier.

Scientists have long agreed that eating cattle tissue infected with bovine
spongiform encephalopathy - mad cow disease - can cause the human form of
the disease, known as variant Creutzfeld-Jacob disease.

But recent animal tests indicate that eating infected beef may also cause
another form of the disease, classical CJD, forcing scientists to
re-examine assumptions about the nature of the deadly disease and raising
fears that it may be more widespread than previously thought.

"We have to be a little bit open-minded about this," says Dr. Laura
Manuelidis, professor and head of neuropathology at Yale University in
Connecticut. 
...
The accepted wisdom has been that classical CJD has nothing to do with mad
cows. It affects older people, those over 55, and generally occurs
spontaneously at the rate of about one person per million per year.

It has been confused with Alzheimer's disease and there is some concern
that because of misdiagnosis, it may be more widespread than the confirmed
numbers indicate.

"The fact is in the United States, the autopsy rate has gone way down from
when I was a medical student, even in academic centres," says Manuelidis. 

full story:
http://www.canoe.com/CNEWS/Canada/2004/01/18/317283-cp.html

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