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Is this article about Mad Cow Disease/Creutzfeldt-Jakob correct?

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Maddy McCall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-31-05 02:24 AM
Original message
Is this article about Mad Cow Disease/Creutzfeldt-Jakob correct?
A man in West Virginia has just been diagnosed with CJD, which I had always believed was the human version of Mad Cow Disease (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy or BSE).

Read this excerpt from this article:

Kranitz is not a physician. She started learning about the disease after losing her husband to CJD, and took over the foundation in 2002. As an infectious protein, CJD is classified as a prion disease and is related - but not the same thing - as a different disease called bovine spongiform encephalopathy, more commonly known as mad cow disease. Kranitz noted that the CJD variant that develops in some people who eat the meat of cattle infected by BSE usually occurs in people 30 years old and younger.

Isn't Kranitz's claim incorrect? Can't believe the paper quoted her without speaking to a physician. What about her assertion that CJD usually only occurs in people under 30? Is she saying that, if you eat infected meat and you are OVER 30, you probably won't get CJD?

Is this as terribly misinforming as it appears to me?
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Rufus T. Firefly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-31-05 02:27 AM
Response to Original message
1. My understanding is you can't "catch" mad cow
Edited on Sun Jul-31-05 02:31 AM by Rufus T. Firefly
from a mad cow. That's what I've read and heard, but I won't claim to be an expert or anything.

Upon further research: /

"Does BSE affect people?

There is a disease similar to BSE called Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease (CJD) that is found in people. A variant form of CJD (vCJD) is believed to be caused by eating contaminated beef products from BSE-affected cattle. To date, there have been 155 confirmed and probable cases of vCJD worldwide among the hundreds of thousands of people that may have consumed BSE-contaminated beef products. The one reported case of vCJD in the United States is in a young woman who contracted the disease while residing in the UK and developed symptoms after moving to the U.S."
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julianer Donating Member (964 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-31-05 02:32 AM
Response to Original message
2. There is a difference between CJD
and 'new variant' CJD which is caused by the prions associated with BSE infected meat and dairy produce.

The difference is that CJD is a disease of older people - it is a brain degeneration almost exclusively associated with aging - and new variant CJD which affect younger people as well.

New variant CJD was undiagnosed before BSE and is directly linked to consuming prions in infected meat/product, as far as I know.
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renate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-31-05 02:53 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. yep, a woman died of it at the age of 22
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-31-05 06:17 AM
Response to Original message
4. I didn't read the whole article, but the part you posted looks about right
FYI: Mad cow and CJD are Prion diseases. They're even more evasive (and primitive) than bacteria or viruses.

A Prion is a sort of "rogue protein." It floats around until it encounters a similar "normal" protein (for example, in your brain). When it does, it sticks to the normal protein and bends it a little until it's a copy of the original prion.

It starts a chain reaction, transforming more and more protein molecules into copies of itself. And as it does, it's disrupting any biological process that protein is normally used for, and leaving little holes (leaving it "sponge-like") in your brain.

I wouldn't be surprised if Prions were one of the early pre-cursors to actual living organisms on Earth.

Prions: Puzzling Infectious Proteins
That's exactly what prions have done to scientists' understanding of the ground
... Prions cause diseases, but they aren't viruses or bacteria or fungi or ...
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BooScout Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-31-05 06:33 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. I know.....
...that the cases of CJD in the US are widely under reported.
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-31-05 07:47 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Well, I don't know if I want to give up meat- or even if I should
However, I'm not going to eat fast-food burgers anymore.

Fast-food burgers are made with meat from multiple cows blended together. And probably many of the burgers at the "good" restaurants are the same way.

Look at it this way:

Let's make up some numbers, and say that one out of a million cows carry the prion.

Now let's say that every McDonalds hamburger you eat has meat from twenty different cows in it.

That means you would be 20 times more likely to get the disease by eating fast-food burgers than by eating steaks.

So, for now I'm not eating burgers anymore.

Again, I'm just making up those numbers, but you get the point.

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pitohui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-31-05 08:00 PM
Response to Original message
7. it looks correct to me
mad cow disease is variant of cjd that may arise from eating cattle

the normal form of cjd may arise spontaneously

it has also been transferred between brain surgery patients because normal sterilization of surgical tools won't kill prions

if you eat infected meat at any age, you probably won't get cjd, or great britain would be depopulated by now but it's true the young seem to have least resistance, many victims were in their teens or early 20s
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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-31-05 08:28 PM
Response to Original message
8. Last year Itailan researchers found a new strain of BSE "Mad Cow"
in cattle. It is being called BASE ("bovine amyloidotic spongiform encephalopathy" and it results in the development of amyloid plaques that destroy the brain, rather than the swiss cheese effect. These amyloid plaques appear very similar to the amyloid plaques found in human Alzheimer's disease, and given that we supposedly have no idea what is causing Alzheimer's disese, it gives me a little shiver up my spine.

Could Alzheimer's disease be a prion disease caused by this, or another yet unknown variant of CJD/BSE?? It is known that upwards of 10%, IIRC, of "Alzheimer's disease" deaths are actually due to CJD but are misdiagnosed. Also, people who handle human remains are apparently concerned enough that they avoid doing postmortems on Alzheimer's patients, so perhaps CJD/prion diseases are far more widespread than currently claimed.

If you are not looking, or only pretending to look, how can you find something??? Sort of like the BSE monitoring in the US - they ain't doin' what I would call looking there, either.
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