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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-13-11 05:17 PM
Original message
Prion disease can spread through air
Edited on Thu Jan-13-11 05:18 PM by Ian David
Prion disease can spread through air

You catch flu by inhaling germs now it seems you can catch prion diseases that way too.

Prions are misshapen proteins that cause brain degeneration in conditions such as mad cow disease and scrapie in animals, and CreutzfeldtJakob disease in humans. They can get into you if you eat infected meat or receive infected blood, but it was thought they couldn't spread through air.

Now Adriano Aguzzi of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich reports that mice exposed for 10 minutes to aerosols containing as little as 2.5 per cent brain tissue from mice with scrapie all developed the disease within months. The prions didn't need processing by the immune system first, as some other research has suggested, but entered the brain directly through nasal nerves.

"We were amazed at how efficiently they spread," says Aguzzi. He warns that this doesn't mean animals or people with prion diseases actually transmit them through the air: there have been no unexplained cases of disease transmission which suggested this. But workers in mills that process potentially infected carcasses may need more respiratory protection.


More:
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19971-prion-disea...





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htuttle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-13-11 05:21 PM
Response to Original message
1. Fecking prions!
God, I hate prions!

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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-13-11 05:27 PM
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2. Not what I want to learn. Nt
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DCKit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-13-11 05:30 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Really. Thanks so much for that.
Guess it's time to pull out the plastic sheeting and duct tape.
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On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-13-11 06:03 PM
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4. I Normally Don't Panic About Health Threats
but this is disturbing. The only siler lining is that so few people carry prions.
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Poll_Blind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-13-11 06:55 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Well, actually....
Edited on Thu Jan-13-11 06:56 PM by Poll_Blind
Some, like Dr. Colm Kelleher have argued that up to 20% of Alzheimers deaths are actually misdiagnosed CJD. He wrote a book about it called "Brain Trust: The Hidden Connection Between Mad Cow and Misdiagnosed Alzheimer's Disease". Here's his page at WikiPedia and what I think is a very interesting interview with him at YouTube: Interview - Mad Cow and Misdiagnosed Alzheimer's Disease. I don't know much about him but he certainly seems articulate and believable during the interview.

Dr. Kelleher's main assertion seems to be that prion diseases are easy to misdiagnose as other diseases, usually Alzheimer's. But he also has some fascinating information about the other forms of "Mad Cow"/CJD in other species.

PB
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azul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-14-11 12:36 AM
Response to Original message
6. What did the Mars lander find?
Prions.

My attempt at levity.

You do know that this form of protein is unique in biochemistry in that it survives all known methods of sterilization including incineration?

As if proteins could be alive and reproduce themselves. It is a bio-toxin that reproduces itself by its target's response when it comes into contact.
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Teaser Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-14-11 05:54 AM
Response to Original message
7. Wish I hadn't held that brain in grad school
that was tagged with "C-J" on its bucket.
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