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
JUL 15, 2018
Videos
JUL 15, 2018
Meet the Rare Binary Asteroid Recently Confirmed by NASA
Astronomers first became aware of an asteroid called YE5 in December of 2017, but something seemed odd about it after they were unable to discern its physi...
JUL 23, 2018
Videos
JUL 23, 2018
Is your commute harming your health?
How far do you commute every day? According to US Census data, the average daily commute......
JUL 23, 2018
Videos
JUL 23, 2018
Can Dark-Colored Eyes See Better?
  Other than health risks associated with certain eye colors, can some colors see better than others? For example, can brown eyes see better than ligh...
JUL 24, 2018
Videos
JUL 24, 2018
A wave of plastic is washing over the DR
Footage from a video taken by “Parley for the Ocean” on July 14, 2018, shows an actual wave of plastic washing over the shores of Santo Domingo...
JUL 28, 2018
Videos
JUL 28, 2018
23andMe Announces Partnership with Drug Company GSK
The collaboration aims to improve personalized therapeutics....
JUL 31, 2018
Health & Medicine
JUL 31, 2018
The Gross Things That Lurk in Swimming Pools
The warmer temperatures associated with Summertime inevitably lead to more swimming pool visits, but have you ever stopped to think about the gross things...
Loading Comments...