Deadly Feasts

Topics: Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, Prion, Bovine spongiform encephalopathy Pages: 3 (819 words) Published: April 21, 2013
Erica Dunyon
Directed Readings
Deadly Feasts by Richard Rhodes

I have to admit, on the opening scene I was really skeptical about reading this book. I really have always hated the idea of cannibalism, so when I was reading and imagining this, in my mind one word came to my attention, “Disgusting!” Progression into the book, however, received my attention, and I continued forward. I enjoyed reading this book. It was very informative, easy to understand, and easy to read. I learned about various prion diseases and their effect on each species they infect.

Deadly Feasts is about spongiform encephalopathies including Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Scrapies, Rida, Kuru, and mad cow disease. This book explains the relationships each spongiform disease has in common with each other, as well as their signs and symptoms. Mad cow disease and scrapies are quite similar to each other, and was endemic in Britain when this book was published. Another rare disease occurring in humans known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease has then been related to mad cow disease. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is one in which eats human brains. Kuru is thought to be another spongiform disease. Kuru was thought to be a result of sorcery. Initially when this disease was discovered, the belief was leaning toward this disease taking on a genetically transmissible role. After much research, it is known that it is a transmissible disease spread by the consumption of infected flesh. The extremely unusual thing about kuru, along with other spongiform encephalopathies, is that it lacks the presence of inflammation.

Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are also known as prion diseases. The infectious microbe in TSEs is a specific protein called prion protein. These prion proteins and proteins of the brain are extremely similar. This may be the reason these proteins are not detected by the immune system which is why they do not cause inflammation. These diseases are unique because they are...
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