Doctor insights on:
Prion Diseases In Children
Not very: Hi, the most common prion disease is CJD, with a uniform incidence of approximately 1 case per million population both in the United States and internationally. Familial forms of prion diseases, such as GSS and fatal familial insomnia (FFI), are much more rare. About 10% of cases of CJD are familial, with an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance linked to mutations in the PRNP gene. ...Read more
No: There is no evidence--nor reason to think--that gm food should or could generate or increase infectious prions. Without comment on whether gm foods are a boon or a bane, the only way I could imagine this happening would be if some evil scientists deliberately created a gm food to generate bad prions in order to eliminate their own financial base ;). ...Read more
Never say never: Not something I would lose sleep over as a citizen; something I would pay a lot of attention to as as beef inspector. So far, safeguards seem solid. Yet, 1/3 of the wild elk population in the us west is "infected" with prion disease, without illness. Is this a problem, or normal nature? Prudence says pay attention, but don't panic. ...Read more
Yes: Infectious types of prions have even been found in muscle tissue. But it's not that they could concentrate there adequately to cause infection. The entire biosphere has a substratum of prions with which all biological systems are in equilibrium. For infection to occur, this equilibrium must be tipped adversely which is hard to do. Feeding prion infected beef back to cattle can do, or cannibalism. ...Read more
There are many forms: Of Prion disease from Fatal Familial Insomnia to Kuru. Generally speaking I would avoid eating brains form any source (see my editorial in the British Medical Journal Lancet) also avoid blood products from potentially contaminated sources where there have been cases of Variant CJD (Mad cow disease). Some cases occur through spontaneous mutations, corneal transplants and contaminated allographs. ...Read more
Are prion diseases more common among people who hunt and eat what they kill? (Due to the meat not being tested for disease)
Dept of Health: Contact your local Department of Health and ask if prion disease is a problem in your region. It is unlikely it would be infecting your venison. ...Read more
Have we gotten ahead of the game on prion diseases? Or are prion diseases likely to be major social/public health problems down the road?
Prion disease: It is a rare form of Neurodegenerative disease. ...Read more
Prion: Prions are proteins that have changed conformation, so that the normal function of the protein inside the cells won't work. The prions' also causes other normal proteins to misfold and make more prions, spreading the process. The prions affect many cells in the body, but they particularly harm nerve cells in the brain, causing progressive rapid degeneration. They are not alive, and have no dna. ...Read more
Current research suggests that the primary method of infection in animals is through ingestion.
Knowledge in this field is in the formative stages, and research is continuing, trying to elucidate the means of transmission.
Good news: clearly, occurrence is not common in humans; and when it occurs in animals, e.g. "mad cow disease", is isolated and eliminated, thus no spread. ...Read more
How do I make sure I never get a prion disease? Saw something about it on tv and they look horrifying
Don't think about it: Prion disease is extremely rare. Classic cases are usually genetic or having to do with cannibalism. Mad cow disease causing human prion disease is a possibility but it is not well established. One can eliminate meat from diet but there is no way to ensure you won't get it. It is out of your control so relax and don't let something like this stop you from living. ...Read more
VERY rare: Prion disease are extremely rare Creutzfeld Jacob disease for instance has a one in million rate of occurrence Don't worry?! ...Read more