Tangled Bank

The Tangled Bank

For those of you not yet familiar with the concept of the blog carnivals, I’m not going to tell you about them. Instead, I’ll let you follow the links and discover for yourself.

Instead of reading about blog carnivals, you can go to one and experience it! Try Tangled Bank on for size which is a carnival with a Science/Medicine theme.

Here is the latest Tangled Bank, #42, hosted by Dogged Blog (some of my friends might be interested in following this blog for its dog focus). It has some fascinating articles about veterinary work, and one wholly scary one about variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the human version of bovine spongiform encephelopathy (mad cow disease).

This item was the main reason for this post. Of all the diseases I’m aware of, I think vCJD scares me the most. Cancer sucks, yes. Malaria kills millons, yes. But, vCJD infects you with a protein that can’t be killed by standard sterilization processes and then you slowly develop depression, dementia, and coordination problems followed relatively quickly by death. No cure exists.

This article briefly talks about spontaneous prion formation that might lead to vCJD in humans, but experts think that infected nervous system tissue from cattle causes most human cases. If you follow the link above, or from Tangled Bank, you will find a researcher who reports that prions have been detected in sheep mammary glands. You know, those things that produce milk for all us milk drinkers. I’m going to be depressed if I have to give up drinking milk for fear of getting this disease.

This is all very irrational on my part, as I voluntarily commute alongside 20,000 other deadly weapons twice a day. I know that my chances of being killed by vCJD are lower than my chances of being hit by a falling jetliner, but that doesn’t effect how I feel.

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