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Neurology

Scientist Finds High Levels of Disease-Causing Prions in Muscle

21 years, 2 months ago

8458  0
Posted on Dec 24, 2002, 7 p.m. By Bill Freeman

Nobel prize winning scientist Professor Stanley Prusiner of the University of California, San Francisco has called for all Britons to be tested for the human form of mad cow disease after finding abnormally high levels of disease-causing prions in the muscle of mice infected with a similar illness. Until now, it was thought that only the brain and spinal cords of infected cows and sheep contained high levels of prions, and the levels in muscle was thought to be low enough not to pose a significant risk of transmission.

Nobel prize winning scientist Professor Stanley Prusiner of the University of California, San Francisco has called for all Britons to be tested for the human form of mad cow disease after finding abnormally high levels of disease-causing prions in the muscle of mice infected with a similar illness. Until now, it was thought that only the brain and spinal cords of infected cows and sheep contained high levels of prions, and the levels in muscle was thought to be low enough not to pose a significant risk of transmission. However, new much more sensitive tests conducted by Prusiner have shown that this is certainly not the case in mice - although he does stress that the levels in muscle are 100-fold less than those found in the brains of infected animals. Just last week, scientists at University College London in the UK reported findings suggesting that mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy - BSE) is responsible for both the "sporadic" and variant forms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD).

SOURCE/REFERENCE: Reported by www.reutershealth.com on the 2nd December 2002

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