Regulators Debate U.S. Response to Mad Cow Disease
WebMD News Archive
The NIH could not be reached for comment at the time this story was written.
However, there is now overwhelming support for the prion theory, says Joseph
Berger, MD, chair of neurology at the University of Kentucky.
"I don't think it's debatable," he tells WebMD. Prions are the only
possible explanation for a disease that is both inherited and infectious, he
Cecile Sardo is Joseph Sardo's surviving wife. After Joseph died, Cecile
helped found the Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Foundation to help other surviving
family members get through the experience. For her, the important thing is that
CJD finally is moving to the forefront of federal regulators' attention, she
"I remember the lonely feeling. You feel like an alien," she tells
WebMD, referring to the lack of community support that existed when her husband
- Researchers are working out the basics of what causes the rare brain
disorder called Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) and its severe sibling,
"mad cow disease."
- Initial studies point to a protein called a prion, which may be causing the
characteristic sponge-like brain damage and may even be able to be passed
between people. In other cases, the disease seemed to be inherited.
- Doctors aren't sure if the disease can be spread through a blood
transfusion, but CJD has been spread through human growth hormone treatments.
In June, the FDA will decide what should be done to try to control the