Monday, March 08, 2004

11th case of BSE in Japan

Another case of BSE in Japan, where they test all of their slaughtered cattle for BSE. Actually, this case was a bit different. After sustaining an injury, the cow was killed and then tested for BSE. Now if Japan has had 11 cases this year of BSE and they test all of their cattle, what might it mean about our cows? We really don't test enough of our cows. Bleah! Okay, regarding why I'm obsessed with this, here's a partial explanation. Years ago (ogod, could it be that long ago), when I was interning, I did diagnose a possible case of CJD on my neuropsychology rotation. The consulting neurologists were utterly baffled. To confirm CJD would require an autopsy, and to be delicate, he wasn't there yet. Although I wasn't privy to what happened to this guy later and it's possible it wasn't CJD in the end, this experience really made a big impact on my awareness of CJD.

Note: I don't usually mix my BSE and CJD posts mostly out of desire not to mislead people. The consensus so far is that you can apparently get CJD spontaneously, not necessarily from eating cow with BSE. But I'm seeing reports of 'spontaneous CJD' in the media, such as this and this. And it really makes me wonder.

Regarding the last case of CJD I blogged about, I just want to put up the comment I got from Hatte Blejer, the wife of Daniel who died of CJD recently:
    The family, the CDC, and others have wondered whether this was iatrogenic CJD from brain surgeries that Daniel had in the 1970s for a brain tumor and for adult hydrocephalus from the preliminary diagnosis. It is being investigated but may never be proved. The SEVEN neurosurgeries were in 2003 when he had CJD already. I have been lobbying Congress to (1) require mandatory reporting in all 50 states and D.C. of brain-wasting illness in humans; (2) prohibit patients who have had neurosurgery from donating blood; (3) require tracking of surgical instruments so that they can be destroyed if they are used on someone who later gets CJD; (4) fund much more research on prion disease; (5) fund programs to educate neurologists and hospitals since they are very ignorant of CJD and most families report months from onset until diagnosis.
    Hatte Blejer | 02.18.04 - 4:15 pm |
Sounds like she's doing really great work. Maybe she can get information on her work on the web. I haven't found it online yet.