T Nation

Mad Cow

As a person who trys to consume 1.5 g of protein per pound of bodyweight daily, I find the news about Mad Cow and how it can find its way to humans is quite disturbing. I find it even more disturbing that the people who raise these animals have been feeding them the remains of other cows after slaughter. This is disgusting! How can you turn a herbivore into a carnivore and not expect some sort of abnormality on the horizon. Anyway, I would STRONGLY urge other readers to check out one of the three major network websites (this one starts with a “C”) and see what a major news program (not the one on Sundays, but the second version that shows in the middle of the week) has to say about this. I for one will not eat ANY hamburger and I think I may have to cut back on beef altogether. This bums me out since I love lean beef and i eat it at least 3-4 times per week! If anyone has any advice please share it with the forum.

MAD COW DISEASE DOES NOT TRANSFER TO HUMANS. There has only been one reported case of “mad cow” disease in a human and this person was a vegeterian. The mistake that people make is that they consider Christopher Jackob disease(sp?), a human version of mad cow disease. Although both are simmilar, they are NOT able to be transfered between cattle and humans. CKD is a genetic disease, but it can be transfered by eating the brains of the victim. This is why there are many African tribes that carry the disease. Personally I would still take precautions with tainted meat, BUT I would not lose sleep over it.

I don’t worry too much about Mad Cow. I’m married to one.

“Mad Cow Disease” – dumb media name, it’s really Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy or BSE – is a horrible disease. Despite the fact that BSE appears to be limited to Europe (G.B.), the U.S. has had the human variant of it for quite a while now (Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease or CJD) as well as the sheep variant (Scrapie). Many cosmetics in the U.S. potentially contain BSE-tainted ingredients, as do quite a few dietary supplements (e.g., so-called “cognitive enhancers” that contain neurological and endocrinological parts from cattle). A decent place to go for info is mad-cow.org, but I recommend you don’t listen to the regular news media (too much sensationalism and misinformation, as usual).

HyaSynth,
If you saw the news broadcast, or would view the website I recommended, you might change your opinion on the disease’s transferability to humans. In fact, I think you are wrong altogether. Eighty people have died of this disease in Europe. Mass-produced hamburger (fast food?) can contain up to 20% brain tissue and who knows what else according to this story.

Man did I have a lot of spelling mistakes in my last post. Anyway, the first person that can actually show that Mad Cow is transferable I will pay them $100.

I would not worry about it too much. I think it is media hype. In fact they have discovered in the findings of the inquiry into a cluster of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) cases–the human version of mad cow disease–suggest the fatal disease has an average incubation period of 30 years.

One other thing, according to the media steroids kill, a vegeterian diet is healthy, high fat diets create body fat, the olympics are not riged, soy is good, creatine causes kidney damage, 3 hours of cardio burns every ounce of fat, bodybuilders are meatheads, etc., ect., etc. The media is not the be all end all source of information.

HyaSynth: You need to check your facts, dude, because you’re post is grossly inaccurate. For one thing, your statement that “C[J]D is a genetic disease, but it can be transfered by eating the brains of the victim” is logically flawed. Think about it for a while. For another thing, a recent study (I don’t have the cite on hand) established that the particular strain of prions (the “infectious proteins”, in simple terms) responsible for mad cow disease, is, in fact, the same strain that causes the new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (nvCJD). In point of fact, there are over one hundred people in Great Britain who are believed to have contracted and died from nvCJD as a result of consuming BSE-tainted meat and/or ancillary products. (By the way, I’d prefer the $100 in $5 bills. Thanks.)

T-mag staff: This would be an _excellent_ topic for an article or two. You'd could probably even get someone like John Williams (not the MFW one), founder of the CJD support network, to write an article for you in exchange for a charitable donation. Many such people have lost loved-ones to this disease and would be quite happy to write something up for you. Of course, if you're concerned about people in a certain usenet group accusing you of sensationalism, then I could see where you wouldn't want to do this...

I’d like to add what little I know about this. My understanding is that the disease manifests itself, not because herbivores are made to eat animal protein, but because the protein fed to them is so close genetically since it is from cows. Cases of CJD referred to in Africa by one of the posters is most likely referring to the cases observed among cannibals of Papua New Guinea. I’m not exactly sure of the mechanism, but apparently when you consume flesh that is so similar to you genetically, there is a greater likelihood of being “invaded” by the proteins because the body has trouble distinguishing it from its own. In nature, there are other cases of odd occurences when an animal becomes cannibalistic. German brown trout will develope a strangely hooked jaw and jagged teeth if it becomes a cannibal early in life. I guess the lesson is, don’t eat your own kind…unless it’s pussy.

There’s plenty of evidence correlating ungulates brain wasting diseases to vCJD(or something like it), such as hunters developing the disease after eating deer brains for years in the central states, to all the poor bastards in Britain and the fact Stanley Prustiner won the Nobel prize on his prion research helps cement the case.

Hyok: What you are referring to is what was thought to be the original mechanism for transmission of CJD and related diseases. It was disproven when a researcher fed brain tissue from the cannibals to rodents, and then, after a period of time, fed brain tissue from some of those rodents to other rodents. Guess what? All the rodents began to show signs of a CJD variant and eventually succumbed to all the usual symptoms, including death. Thus, the researcher showed that the mechanism for transmission was not due to the consumption of genetically similar tissue; instead, it was the consumption of infected neurological tissue. Nasty, but true, and it explains the rather recent rise in CJD-related cases, i.e., the affected people are most certainly not eating genetically similar material; rather, they’re eating prion-infected meat. (The argument that only neurological tissue can contain the infection is not necessarily true either. The practice of killing cows by blasting highly pressurized air through their skulls causes brain matter to become mixed with marketable beef. Further, hot dogs and such “mystery meat” are by law allowed to contain a certain percentage of “part” sources which can also include neurological tissue.)

First off, ignore all the spelling mistakes I made. Secondly Here are the facts as I know; CJD is a rare double reccesive genetic disease. But if these prions are ingested they can cross the blood-brain barrier and cause the same damage. The prions are proteins identical in atomic make up to proteins in the brain, but with a different molecular structure. These prions have the ability to convert every other protein, with the same atomic make up, into more prions. The reason why this is deadly, is because the proteins are nullified thus the brain cannot use them. Simptoms are simmilar to an extreme version or alzheimers. With mad cow and other simmilar strains of prion infecting deseases, the prions have a different atomic make up. Even in vitro these prions that are slightly different, do not affect human proteins. But they do affect humans with an even rarer disease (nvCJD) that has no symptoms, in most cases, until the non human strain of prions enter the brain. This is an instance where mad cow could transfer, yet there is no real data on this only speculative data. Although there may be 100 people in Britian who think they have nvCJD, but this is not a world wide epidemic, 100 out of 5 billion is pretty small. There is still no evidence that normal humans can catch the disease. No money for you! P.S. Sorry if I was breif with my previous post…

Upon further investigation there is only 4900 people, according to statistics, in the world that have classic CJD, approx. 0.000098%,. As for nvCJD there are only 72 people, that were reported, who have died of it from between 1996 and 2000. 70 of these people were from the UK, most likely a result of genetic migration. nvCJD seems to be as a reult of the of the BSE epidemic. BUT there is still no evidence, only speculation that this is the cause. As I said in my previous post, the non human prions spark the onset of the nvCJD. Although this is only speculation, because most say that the prions have a simmilar atomic make up to the proteins in the brain therefore it is the cause. Finally nvCJD kills the victim before the age of 20 in most cases, unlike CJD which takes at least 30 to 40 years.

37% of the British pop carries the homozygous MM copy which makes them vulnerable to vCJD, so it’s not such a small number,and further more Kuru which is the prion disease Papua New Guinean’s get from eating infected brains affects MM and heterozygous MV, so don’t be so sure the rest of the population isn’t vulnerable.The incubation for MV people looks to be over 30 years since brain eating was outlawed in New G in 1957 and MV people are still succumbing to Kuru.

HyaSynth: Excellent posts. It’s obvious that you were in a rush in your first post, and I mistook that for a misunderstanding of the topic. My apologies… I want to clarify, however, that while I may appear to be an extremist on this issue, I am most definitely not one by any means, nor have I ever been on any subject. It’s simply that my reading – not via the media, I assure you – on spongiform encephalopathies has shown that these are horrible diseases which have the potential to impact our society in innumerable ways. Am I going to become a vegetarian because of it? Nope, but I do believe that it’s reasonable to assume that some marketed beef products may be tainted, including cosmetics and such, and my wife and I take certain steps to minimize the risk. If I do sound a bit “conspiracy theorist” about this subject, it’s because I remember quite clearly in 1985 when it first came to light that the U.S. government had purposely not informed the general populace about an equally horrible disease: HIV. Given the possibility that BSE may be transmittable to humans, it’s not unreasonable to believe that the various governments may be doing the same in this instance. Time will certainly tell, but for now I think we can both agree to disagree on this matter. (?)

Lipo that was a funny answer! LOL! BTW, if you are worried, why not have chicken, turkey, fish?
samir B

Agreeded