Skip to content

Brain & Nervous System Health Center

Mad Cow Disease Directory

Mad cow disease, also called bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), is a deadly nervous system disease that slowly destroys the brain and spinal cord of cattle. The human form of mad cow disease is called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). You may get this rare disease if you eat nerve tissue from infected cattle. There is no evidence that you can get this disease from eating other parts of cattle, such as those used for ground beef and steaks. The cause of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and mad cow disease is unknown, although it may be due to protein changes in animal cells. Follow the links below to find WebMD's comprehensive coverage about how mad cow disease develops, what the symptoms are, how it's treated, and much more.

Medical Reference

News Archive

Today on WebMD

nerve damage
Learn how this disease affects the nervous system.
senior woman with lost expression
Know the early warning signs.
woman in art gallery
Tips to stay smart, sharp, and focused.
medical marijuana plant
What is it used for?
senior man
boy hits soccer ball with head
red and white swirl
marijuana plant
brain illustration stroke
nerve damage
Alzheimers Overview
Graphic of number filled head and dna double helix