AR-News: (US) Mad cow-like diseases linked by bacteria

animalconcerns at animalconcerns at
Fri Jun 25 22:55:50 EDT 2004

WASHINGTON, June 25 (UPI) -- For more than 20 years, one scientist has
ignored the conventional thinking among researchers that mad cow disease
and similar disorders are caused by abnormal proteins and instead has
pursued an alternative view that the culprit is a tiny, rare bacteria.

Dr. Frank Bastian, a pathologist at Tulane University in New Orleans,
has encountered controversy over the years and seen his hypothesis
roundly dismissed by nearly all other researchers working in this field.
Nevertheless, he has stubbornly persisted in collecting data to support
his hypothesis.

Now, Bastian may have uncovered the first molecular evidence of a link
between chronic wasting disease -- a mad-cow-like illness that afflicts
deer -- and scrapie, the sheep equivalent.

The finding, which has not been corroborated, could help answer the
long-standing question of the origin of chronic wasting disease, which
seemed to have come out of nowhere in the 1960s and has been spreading
ever since across deer and elk herds in the midwestern United States and
into Canada. 

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