[Marxism] Junk science alert: Human Mad Cow, variant CJD, may be widespread in USA

Jose G. Perez elgusanorojo at bellsouth.net
Sat Feb 7 08:16:15 MST 2004


Louis writes "But there does appear to be substantial research" that
ties misdiagnosed Alzheimer's to mad cow.

The ASSERTION in the original article is that patients were found to
have specifically *VARIANT* CJD, "human mad cow" disease narrowly
speaking, not plain CJD. "Between 3 per cent and 13 per cent of patients
found to have Alzheimer's or dementia actually suffered from variant
CJD, the human form of mad cow disease."

As the reference you provide *confirms,* the diagnosis that was
established, however, was plain CJD, not *VARIANT* CJD.  

It is correct to say that CJD in general, including plain CJD, are human
forms of mad cow disease. The basic cause is a "prion" as best as I
understand it, a mis-folded protein that has the ability to somehow get
its siblings to also misfold. The difference is that variant CJD is
believed to come from eating tainted beef; plain CJD is thought to be a
spontaneously arising disease of age (there is also evidence that it is
genetically influenced). 

Researchers say CJD and variant CJD (mad cow disease, narrowly speaking)
albeit closely related, are clearly distinguishable, at least that is
the current state of the science, although the field is new and in flux.
Variant CJD in particular strikes all ages; that is what happened in the
British outbreak. There's also a lot of studies that the brain tissues
look different; however, whether this is true in all cases is being
debated.

The distinction between plain CJD  as such, and "variant" CJD, people
who contract CJD by transmission, presumably for eating tainted beef, is
entirely missed in the Montreal Gazette article. This was intentional,
as can be seen by the use of the progressive present tense in the
original article, "U.S. studies of autopsies are showing that between 3
per cent and 13 per cent," etc.

The reason for using a formulation like "are showing" is that saying,
mad cow may be more widespread TODAY than thought and the proof is a
study published in the late 1980's is not going to sound very credible.
So the writer fudges the verb tenses to make it seem that this is
something barely beginning to be discovered NOW.

If the 1989 study were indicative of large numbers of variant CJD cases
(transmitted from tainted meat, as happened in Britain), then you would
have to posit that for at least the past 15 *years* there were any
number of younger people coming down with and dying within a year or two
of something that looked like Alzheimer's on fast forward in the U.S.,
and nobody noticed. Even while the same phenomenon in Britain drew
headlines and caused tremendous alarm throughout the world.

Either that, or that there is some as-yet undescribed variation of CJD
transmitted through beef to humans that only manifests among old people.
I've not heard of any studies that suggest this. 

Thus the assertion of the Montreal paper that X% of Alzheimer's or
dementia patients were actually found to have had *variant* CJD, the
specific mad-cow transmitted form of the disease, as it is known today,
and which among other things apparently affects all ages, isn't
supported by these or any other studies I am aware of, and specifically
not by the main study cited in the UPI article which (unattributed)
appears to have been the source of the Montreal Gazette rewrite.

José





More information about the Marxism mailing list