prions. cheese. mad cow disease. milk.

Kyle Legate legatek at
Wed Jan 7 11:16:57 EST 2004

Louis Hom wrote:
> They primarily *affect* the brain and nervous system, but at least
> some of the evidence suggests that the lymphatic system is involved in
> transit of the prions and establishing the infection.  Can't comment
> on the validity/seriousness of the implications of these results, but
> it makes me at least a little nervous/squeamish.
I admit that I''m not up to date on the prion field, but the answers to two
questions are not clear to me:

1. Is there any evidence that eating contaminated meat can transfer the
disease to humans?

2. Considering that our digestive systems are efficient at digesting
protein, and our intestinal epithelia take up peptide fragments and not
whole proteins, how is it possible that the disease-causing form of PrP can
make it into our bodies and incorporate into nerve tissue membranes intact?

Call me skeptical, but I'm not convinced that BSE is worth the fear.

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