science
Synthetic Brain-Destroying Human Prions Created in the Lab for the First Time

Researchers from Case Western Reserve University have synthesised an artificial human prion, a scientific first that could eventually lead to treatments for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and other deadly brain-wasting disorders. Read More >>

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One Study Finds ‘Zombie Deer’ Prion Disease May Not Infect Humans, but Risk Remains

Scientists’ worst fears over a so-called “zombie deer” prion disease currently spreading across the US and Canada are unlikely to come to pass, suggests a long-term study published last week in the Journal of Virology. The fatal ailment, known as chronic wasting disease (CWD) and caused by a mysterious kind of protein called a prion, doesn’t seem capable of crossing the species barrier and spreading to humans—at least according to this experiment. Other research, however, has found otherwise. Read More >>

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Prion Disease Can Lurk in Your Brain for 30 Years Before Quickly Killing You

Among the myriad of things that can sicken us, prions remain one of the creepiest pathogens out there. A new report, published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, highlights yet another reason why: People can come down with a prion disease at least 30 years after first being exposed to it. Read More >>

science
Tribe That Ate Brains Develop Resistance to Some Brain Diseases

The story of kuru, as classically told in biology textbooks, is a tragic one. The Fore population in Papua New Guinea ate the brains of their tribe members as an act of mourning, a ritual that allowed a misshapen protein to spread through the population. This caused the disease kuru, which killed as much as 10 per cent of the population in the mid-twentieth century. Read More >>