014 – Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), Mad cow & Prion disease | The Bovine Blender

Travis Brown This Medical Life Mad Cow Prion Disease podcast

This is the story of Prion disease.

In 1951, Australian anthropologists reported on a unique neurodegenerative disease from Papua New Guinea. The natives called it ‘Kuru’ which meant to tremble or to be afraid and it certainly struck fear into those who saw it.

Through amazing investigative work and serendipity, a veterinary pathologist in the United States saw the histology of a Kuru from the brain and noted it looked a lot like ‘Scrapie’ (a neurodegenerative disease in sheep) and the link was made.

It would not be until 1980s that the causative agent for these diseases was identified: Prion’s.

And then in the 1990s, Cows in the United Kingdom began showing symptoms…