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Latest prions Stories

2014-06-15 14:53:41

PLOS The first cases of Mad Cow disease in humans (properly called variant Creutzfeld Jakob Disease, or vCJD) occurred in the late 1990s and are thought to be the consequence of eating contaminated beef products. Since then, several cases of secondary infections caused by transfusions with blood from donors who subsequently developed vCJD have been reported, raising concerns about the safety of blood and blood products. A paper published in PLOS Pathogens on June 12th now describes an...

2014-04-04 10:29:01

When cannibals ate brains of people who died from prion disease, many of them fell ill with the fatal neurodegenerative disease as well. Likewise, when cows were fed protein contaminated with bovine prions, many of them developed mad cow disease. On the other hand, transmission of prions between species, for example from cows, sheep, or deer to humans, is—fortunately—inefficient, and only a small proportion of exposed recipients become sick within their lifetimes. A study published on...

2012-11-30 16:13:59

Prion diseases represent a family of neurodegenerative disorders associated with the loss of brain cells and caused by proteins called prions (derived from 'protein' and 'infection'). The diseases are found in both humans and animals, such as Creutzfeld-Jakob disease and mad cow disease respectively. Although mostly harmless, prions can transform into infectious agents, which accumulate in the brain and destroy the nervous tissue. But how exactly does the accumulation of prions cause...

Mad Cow Detection Hope
2012-09-13 08:30:04

April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Medical researchers from the University of Melbourne believe that a simple blood test for Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease and Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, aka Mad Cow disease, is a step closer following a recent breakthrough. Using newly available genetic sequencing, researchers have discovered cells infected with prions (the infectious protein responsible for these diseases) release particles which contain easily recognized signature...

2012-07-23 20:52:59

A team of University of Alberta researchers has identified a new class of compounds that inhibit the spread of prions, misfolded proteins in the brain that trigger lethal neurodegenerative diseases in humans and animals. U of A chemistry researcher Frederick West and his team have developed compounds that clear prions from infected cells derived from the brain. "When these designer molecules were put into infected cells in our lab experiments, the numbers of misfolded proteins...

2012-07-09 10:20:54

New pathway for infection reported in the American Journal of Pathology Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or "mad cow disease") is a fatal disease in cattle that causes portions of the brain to turn sponge-like. This transmissible disease is caused by the propagation of a misfolded form of protein known as a prion, rather than by a bacterium or virus. The average time from infection to signs of illness is about 60 months. Little is known about the pathogenesis of BSE in the early...

Possible Way To Prevent Brain Cell Death Discovered
2012-05-07 03:29:28

In a new study, a team of UK researchers have reportedly found a way to prevent brain cell death in mice -- a discovery which could ultimately lead to improved treatments for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and other neurodegenerative ailments in humans. According to BBC News Health and Science Reporter James Gallagher, scientists at the University of Leicester studied prion disease, which affects mice in much the same way as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's and Creutzfeld-Jacob Disease...

USDA On The Hunt For Offspring Of BSE-infected Cow
2012-04-26 13:30:59

Lawrence LeBlond for RedOrbit.com After tests this week confirmed BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) in a dead dairy cow from a California farm, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) went on the manhunt, or cowhunt, for any offspring the dead animal may have had, stating they could also carry the fatal brain-eating disease. But while USDA officials say there is evidence that the disease can be passed on from a mother to their calf, John Clifford, the agency´s chief...


Word of the Day
humgruffin
  • A terrible or repulsive person.
Regarding the etymology of 'humgruffin,' the OED says (rather unhelpfully) that it's a 'made-up word.' We might guess that 'hum' comes from 'humbug' or possibly 'hum' meaning 'a disagreeable smell,' while 'gruffin' could be a combination of 'gruff' and 'griffin.'