Researchers have found a gene that can make people resistant to the CJD, a brain eating disease. The study should find a way in a battle against possible epidemic caused by BSE infected beef. Also, these findings can give better information about the human brain diseases and causes of dementia.
CJD or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is a rare brain disorder. There are three forms of this disease.
1. Sporadic form. It occurs naturally in the human brain.
2. Variant CJD, also known as vCJD. It is caused by eating infected beef.
3. Kuru form. It spread once in Papua New Guinea, because local tribes eat human brains. Those people eat brains of their dead. Because of this, the kuru epidemic occurred in the 50s. More than 2% of the population died each year. This custom is known as Fore.
Prof John Collinge from the University College London, was interested in kuru epidemic. It studied it more than 20 years. During that time, he discovered that some people in the Fore were immune. He and his team believed that the gene is responsible for the immunity.
Prof Collinge bred mice with this gene. He discovered that they were resistant to the kuru and other forms of the CJD. Now, scientists can use this gene in order to prevent CJD and other dementias.
Doctors were concerned for the vCJD in the 90s. It was caused by the infected beef. They believed that tens of thousand people will die from it. Until now, 177 people died in the UK, but one in 2.000 people carries the infection. According to the experts, it is important that we don’t give up and drop our guard.