To growand to die

AND DIE That was the sad fate of at least 140 children treated with human growth hormone and infected with the causative agent of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The final outcome of this tragedy remains to be known owing to the lengthy incubation period of CJD, additional cases appear every year. The announcement of the first cases, in April 1985, took specialists by surprise the vast majority of them had not seriously contemplated the possibility of such infection. Although in the...

Kuru and the fore people of papua new guinea

SOME PLANTS AND ANIMALS ARE so-called living fossils. They seem to have survived since time immemorial while their contemporaries fell by the wayside, yielding to new species better adapted to a changing world. As of the mid-twentieth century, the human species too included its share of well-adapted survivors groups cut off from the rest of the world, who lived as our distant ancestors had lived. Among them were a number of ethnic groups on a huge island to the north of Australia, which had...

Scrapie is inoculable

ON DECEMBER 28, 1936, the French veterinarians Jean Cuill and PaulLouis Chelle presented to the Acad mie des Sciences a communication titled Is the Disease Known as Scrapie Inoculable They reported having used a variety of techniques to inoculate nine sheep of both sexes with cerebral or medullar matter from a number of animals in the latter stages of scrapie. In the course of the nine months following the inoculation, seven died or were sacrificed for reasons beyond the control of the...

The secret in the closet

WE HAVE BEEN ON THE TRAIL of The Disease for three centuries now. If it has managed to evade capture for so long, this is due in large part to its disturbing ability to alter its appearance. The closet in which this criminal stores its disguises seems to be infinitely deep. So what is its secret Can prion theory help us figure it out From the very outset we knew that The Disease could change its appearance. Think of how hard it was to realize that scrapie in all its forms was in fact a single...

And goats AND mice

By then scrapie had turned up in Canada, the United States, and Australia in the wake of importation of sheep from the United Kingdom. Those countries, along with New Zealand, imposed an embargo on such sheep unless they could be guaranteed scrapie-free. Now, finding the source of the disease became an economic issue. Motivated and well financed, British veterinarians resumed large-scale experimentation at two major research centers the Agricultural Research...