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Kuru

James C. Harrison hexis at netcom.com
Fri Mar 29 14:20:11 EST 1996


Joao Vasconcelos Costa (jcosta at pen.gulbenkian.pt) wrote:
: James C. Harrison wrote:
: > 
: > Has anybody compared the new CJD cases in England with kuru, the Papuan
: > brain disease thought to be spread through the ritual eating of the dead?
: > Prions have been implicated in kuru as well as CJD, BSE, and scrapie.
: > 
: > hexis

: Of course. Kuru and CJD have distinct features (epidemiology, clinical
: pattern, etc) but they are essentially the same entity, with the same
: causative agent (an altered form of the human PrP protein). 
: Incidently, it is not proved that kuru was caused by canibalism, 
: directly (ie, by oral route). I may have been contracted by parenteral
: inoculation during the preparation of the canibalistic meals.

The possibility that kuru is actually contracted during food preparation 
is discussed in the kuru chapter of William H. Durham's Coevolution: 
Genes, Cuture, and Human Diversity, a good source of info on kuru with 
a very extensive bibliography.

 My question is whether the chemical composition of PrP in scrapie, BSE,
CJD, and kuru has been compared recently-I'm not aware of any kuru
research after about '93. 

By the way, somebody e-mailed me to inquire if I was suggesting an 
outbreak of cannibalism in the U.K., perhaps brought on by general 
cultural collapse in the wake of the Royal scandals. I can't 
independently verify this idea, but I am monitoring the T.V. for ads for 
"People, the other, other white meat."

hexis



:  : -- : 
*****   JOAO VASCONCELOS COSTA, 
MD, PhD : *****   Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia - Oeiras, Portugal
: *****   mailto:jcosta at pen.gulbenkian.pt
: *****   http://www.pen.gulbenkian.pt/v2/jvc.html



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