Minutiae
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The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.
--Cornelius Tacitus (c. 116 A.D.)

Tuesday, April 03, 2001
I'm not trying to be an alarmist or tell anyone else what to do. I feel that a steak isn't worth the risk. Other people may evaluate that risk differently.
posted by Rachel 4/3/2001
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Ok, no more beef for me then. In my medical anthropology class today the professor told us about new research which indicates that upwards of 5% of alzheimers victims are misdiagnosed and are actually suffering from Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD). CJD is supposedly caused by a random genetic mutation in humans. CJDv (for variant) is the term used to describe the form contracted from mad cows. Based on the sample they're estimating that more than 200,000 people currently living with alzheimers are actually suffering CJD. The normal occurance is one per million. That would make this estimate several hundred times the normal/natural rate of this disease. What this suggests is that we already have our own version of mad-cow disease here in the US. The agent of mad-cow diseaese and CJD is a small protein called a prion. Prions were first recognised as the cause of Kuru, a disease which affected tribes in New-Guinea in the first part of this century. It was transmitted by ritual cannibalization of the dead. Prions cause: Mad-cow disease, Scrapie in sheep, a wasting disease in herds of wild elk and deer, and Kuru and CJD in people. Prions are transmitted by exposure to or ingestion of infected tissue. When medical personel are treating a known case of CJD they employ extreme precautions because it is believed to be more contageous than HIV via body fluids.
We feed our food animals dead animals. Here's a wake up call that maybe that's not such a good idea. I'll eat beef again when I'm conviced that the food production system prevents animal cannibalization. In the meanwhile I'm really going to miss steak.
posted by Rachel 4/3/2001
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