Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Study Predicts More Human Mad Cow Deaths

A study published on June 23, 2006 in The Lancet suggest that many more humans will eventually die of mad cow disease. They studied the highland cannibalistic tribes of New Guinea that were decimated by prion disease (which they called kuru) and found that the disease could incubate for 50 years in people with particular genetic make-ups. From the New York Times article: "The new Lancet study relied on teams of local people who visited mountain villages for years, interviewing and asking for blood samples from anyone with symptoms. The 11 they found were all born between 1933 and 1949, and cannibalism died out by 1960. The lead author, Dr. John Collinge of University College, London, concluded that kuru could incubate as long as 56 years before killing. It has been known for years that people with a certain genetic marker die soonest of prion diseases. Nine of the 11 Fore did not have it."