JUL 29, 2015 12:34 PM PDT

FDA Vs. Mad Cow Disease

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker

"Mad Cow Disease" describes the condition in cattle caused by a misfolded protein, called a prion. Humans (and other animals) can also develop this disease when they ingest food made from products derived from cows with the disease. It is actually called bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cows and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans (vCJD).

Only a small amount of the pathology surrounding Mad Cow is understood. It is rare for humans to get the disease since the FDA has strict bans on the use of certain cow parts in animal feed (that are most prone to harvesting the harmful prion), but any human who is unfortunate enough to get the disease will die after a long incubation period. Fatalities from the disease in both humans and cows are due to degeneration of brain tissue. Clinical features of sufferers include psychological abnormalities, vertigo, immobility and an inability to communicate (World Health Organization).

Currently, there is no clear method for diagnosing BSE in cows or vCJD in humans. Visualizing deteriorated brain tissue through a microscope after a death from either form of the disease is the only way to know for sure. There are no therapeutic options or preventative measures for BSE/vCJD (FDA).
About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
OCT 26, 2018
Cardiology
OCT 26, 2018
What Is Atherosclerosis Anyway
Atherosclerosis is the main contributing factor for coronary artery disease. Defined by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, atherosclerosis is a...
NOV 01, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 01, 2018
Mid-air Chemistry Experiment Opens Up a New Era in Metal-organic Frameworks Research
Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are molecules with network structures made of metal ion cores coordinated to organic ligands. Due to their high internal su...
NOV 06, 2018
Videos
NOV 06, 2018
Towards a Universal Flu Vaccine
Researchers have to design a new flu vaccine every year. But there are efforts to create a vaccine that works against all strains....
NOV 16, 2018
Videos
NOV 16, 2018
An orangutan's anti-palm oil plea
A recently released TV advertisement highlights one company’s attempt to bring into the light the palm oil crisis. Iceland, a UK grocery store, publi...
NOV 20, 2018
Videos
NOV 20, 2018
A Major Grant Aims to Improve our Understanding of Age-related Cognitive Decline
The American Heart Association has teamed up with the Allen Initiative in Brain Health and Cognitive Impairment to award the Salk Institute $19.2 million....
NOV 21, 2018
Videos
NOV 21, 2018
Human Urine as Fertilizer?
Although at first it may sound unappealing, human urine could be a key asset in sustainable agriculture research particularly for its unique contribution....
Loading Comments...