Prions
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Latest rumors from Dealler's site
Claim against Oprah called ridiculous
Experts clueless as to scope of nvCJD epidemic
Risk assessment of beef-on-bone
Institutions accepting charitable donations for CJD research
UK bone meal, gardening, and mad cow disease
Cows and global warming

News and Views from UK

February 1998 Dealler site
See also list of books and BSE along with his reviews

Outbreak of insecurity with blood products in Birmingham following Dealler's lecture.

This took place towards the end of January to the haematologists of Birmingham and was discussed after he left. He went over the statistics of risk analysis and blood products. Apparently the drug companies are moving in for the kill with foreign derived products.

Announcement by D of H on blood product risk to be on 17.2.98.

Although this is just gossip, it is still not sure what they are going to say. It does not seem as if they are getting ready to put over that the risks are high in that they are not getting in touch with all the plasma companies to replace UK products. i.e. there is going to be an enormous fight afterwards.

Committee on Safety of Medicines meeting on blood transfusion products risks

.This meeting is taking place very soon and will potentially not have good news for UK producers. Some of the information that they are looking at is derived from Paul Brown's work in the USA, which indicates that UK blood products could not be declared as safe. The legal aspects of this are looking very worrying to the people on the board. The CSM is meeting at the DofH in the UK of course and this may not be good news as they may have to fulfill the regulations for Europe, who have already demanded that UK blood products that contain blood from nvCJD donors are considered a risk to the recipient.

Belgian program on BSE.

This took up two slots, the first saying just what the disease was andhow it was not so marvellously going away as we would all think and the second part about the 32 year old man that appeared to die in Belgium of nvCJD in 1994. I am expecting a horror story to cross the channel.

Don't tell the recipients of the nvCJD donors that they may be infected.

This was the directive from the Department of Health (6.2.98) and was based generally on the fact that there was no way to find out if the person had become infected and no way to treat them anyway. They decided it would be ethcially better to allow the people to live in more blissful ignorance than depressed by the knowledge.

Confirmed case of nvCJD in a 57 year old.

This was confirmed at a meeting of neuropathologists at the beginning of January by Dr Ironside. No further data is available. The case reported last year in a dog in Norway turned out not to be related to BSE. The cat in Norway did have BSE and seems to have got it from eating imported cat food.

What is happening to the meat and bone meal?

Serious underground information suggests that it is not going to be incinerated at all but rather a large amount is to be simply used as landfill. This seems such an odd thing to do with something that can be incinerated that it seems strange. Statements have been made indicating that the Intervention Board in the UK is to incinerate it using its own power station burners but this cannot be found from the power companies. A fully safe burner is being produced independently but the IB seems to be taking little interest in it.

TV series on BSE.

This series (4 programs, weekly starting on 15.2.98 on BBC 2 at 8 pm) called Mad Cows and Englishmen, has taken around 18 months to produce and will be out at the same time as the Inquiry starts in public. As far as I can see it will not come out with good news for MAFF.

WHO Meeting in Geneva.

In private but a few things came out of it that might interest...Dr. Dealler had all his bags stolen at the airport, various researchers were working so hard in their labs that they could only come for one of the days, and various good and bad news came out. Geneva high quality restaurant actually stated that the beef they were selling came from the USA!

Narang's book is now available.

This is the one that goes through cases of CJD before the nvCJD was admitted by the CJD Unit and indicates that there may have been cases before they realised it. The way to get a copy is to ring Harash Narang at 0191 281 5311 (or leave a message with someone there).

The major business meeting concerning BSE in London has decided to double.

By this I mean they had so many applicants to be in the audience (at over 1000 pounds each) that they decided it was better just to run the show twice! Once in March and again in June.

Phillips Inquiry a legal opportunity to attack MAFF action?

It seems that the worry that some of the potential witnesses have had concerning Phillips may have decreased to some degree in that they have been offered legal advice by the inquiry and they may take this as an opportunity to bring out serious information into the public. The worry has always been about legal reprisals concerning the giving of information to the inquiry but if adequate legal advice is given this worry can maybe be avoided. Phillips has got the word from the civil service that there will be no retrobution taken against people giving evidence. However they ask for information at the same time saying that legal problems with giving the data may appear in the future and so suggest that certain people may require legal advice before giving any inforamation that may put them at risk.

This is certainly a major problem to some witnesses in that some of the things they may have to say, may not be confirmable by heavy proof and so they may be giving information that could be seen as libellous. More is likely to come of this. The way that MAFF made sure that as much of the information was present inside its own walls and that anyone giving it out was at risk will surely not change just by the gentleman's agreement between Phillips and the Civil Service.

Many meetings were held in private, many researchers were told not to release any data; all will be a problem if someone makes a claim that cannot be demonstrated as correct without this data being released. The inability of Phillips to prevent retrobution against MAFF employees (or indeed any employees) must represent a major problem.

Oprah Plaintiff Reduces Claim

By Mark Babineck Associated Press Writer Friday, February 13, 1998 
AMARILLO, Texas -- One of the Texas cattlemen suing Oprah Winfrey for defamation today lowered his estimate of the damage she caused him by $4 million.

While sticking by his initial claim of $4.5 million based on the value of his herd before and after Ms. Winfrey's April 1996 show on mad cow disease, Bill O'Brien is now seeking $525,000 in lost sales in the three months after the program aired.

``The reason why the $4.5 million figure is changing is because it's ridiculous, isn't it?'' asked defense lawyer Charles Babcock.
O'Brien replied: ``It is the only accurate way to measure sales damages. It takes into account diminished values.'' O'Brien and fellow cattle feeder Paul Engler are suing Ms. Winfrey, her production company and a vegetarian activist because they blame the April 16, 1996, show for plummeting cattle prices. Engler is still seeking $5.8 million. Acting independently of his co-plaintiff, O'Brien began submitting restructured damage claims Thursday.

When O'Brien attorney David Mullin first asked to revise his damage figure, Babcock objected. He was overruled by U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson. Babcock then asked for a recess until Tuesday to give him a chance to study the new figures. That request also was denied.

Engler made it clear Thursday afternoon he wanted to distance himself from O'Brien's changes. Engler attorney Joe Coyne told the jury O'Brien was adjusting his estimated losses independently. The cattlemen are suing because they say Ms. Winfrey's show violated a Texas law against falsely disparaging perishable food products. They allege Ms. Winfrey favored statements by activist Howard Lyman over pro-beef remarks.

Belgian says 230,000 Britons threatened by mad cow disease

Fri, 13 Feb 1998  Agence France Presse
A Belgian expert says 230,000 Britons threatened by mad cow disease. Yet the second story says according to a BBC documentary, 'British scientists investigating so-called mad cow disease warned as early as 1988 that "millions " of people could be affected. ' The third story says, the WHO consultation chired by Marvin Zeidler noted that the possibility of a significant epidemic of nvCJD occuring within the next 10-15 years cannot be dismissed, with Paul Brown of NIH being told the next year or two could settle the risk issuse. Of the three positions, I see molecular biologists agreeing only with Zeidler's position. --webmaster

1. BRUSSELS Up to 230,000 Britons could theoretically develop new variant Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease (nvCJD) as a result of eating beef products from cattle with "mad cow " disease, according to Dr Emmanuel Vanopdenbosch, Belgium's leading expert in the field. Vanopdenbosch is the head of the Belgian institute of zoology and a member of the European commission's advisory committee on animal health.

To date, 22 [wrong -- webmaster] Britons have died from the fatal brain- wasting condition and among British scientists there is growing confidence that the feared epidemic is not going to materialise. Professor Sir John Pattison, the chief scientific advisor to the British government, said last week he expected between 100 and 1,500 people to develop nvCJD, rather than the tens of thousands originally feared.

In an article for the Belgian farming magazine Boer en Tuinder, Vanopdenbosch said a major epidemic could still not be ruled out. His estimate of the maximum number of possible cases is based on an assumption that 4.8 million Britons ate enough contaminated meat to have risked contracting the disease.

"We think about five percent of them could actually develop nvCJD, which gives us the figure of 235,000 potential cases, " he wrote.

Scientists' mad cow disease warnings played down by officials - claim

Feb 13   Agence France Presse  February  13, 1998
2. LONDON. British scientists investigating so-called mad cow disease warned as early as 1988 that "millions " of people could be affected, according to a BBC documentary. While ministers were declaring British beef was safe to eat, confidential documents disclosed scientists' uncertainties about the implications of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy which ravaged Britain's cattle herds.

The claims are made in the first part of a BBC2 documentary ' Mad Cows and Englishmen' to be broadcast Sunday on the history of the BSE outbreak. It also makes clear the unease of independent scientists appointed by the government to investigate the crisis at official attempts to play down the health risks.

Briefing notes given to Sir Richard Southwood, professor of zoology at Oxford University, and his co-scientists in the first working party to investigate BSE in 1988 show officials were already weighing up the dangers presented by the cattle disease to humans. This was eight years before the link between mad-cow disease and its human equivalent new variant Creutzfeld Jacob Disease was pinned down. Whitehall civil servants told Southwood it was vital to establish a test to pick out animals infected with BSE before they showed the symptoms.

"Otherwise, were there a hazard to humans, it could be 10 or more years before it is revealed by clinical disease, by which time thousands/millions might have been infected, " said the notes.
The document also disclosed that eating meat was being regarded as one theoretical route for BSE to pass between cow and human. While drawing up his report, Sir Richard was so concerned about Agriculture Ministry officials' attempts to play down the health risks that he brought in a Department of Health official to write the document and circumvent their influence, the programme claims. The government has declined to comment on the programme's findings, saying the handling of the BSE crisis is now under official investigation.

Serious epidemic of human form of mad cow disease possible: WHO

 Feb 11 Agence France Presse
3. GENEVA, A serious epidemic of the human form of "mad cow " disease could take place in the next 10 to 15 years unless preventive steps are taken, experts at a meeting sponsored by the World Health Organization warned Wednesday. The 50 or so international experts, wrapping up a three-day meeting, stressed the need to develop effective therapy and tests to detect at an early stage the new variant of Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (nvCJD), the human equivalent of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or mad cow disease. "The consultation noted that the possibility of a significant epidemic of nvCJD occuring within the next 10-15 years cannot be dismissed and therefore emphasized that the early identification of an effective therapy is of paramount importance, " said Doctor Martin Zeidler, a neurologist with the World Health Organization's division of new disease. Zeidler and the other experts said it was impossible at this time to determine how many people could be contaminated with the fatal strain of the disease. One participant at the conference, Doctor Paul Brown of the US-based Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes, said there was concern that the new variant of CJD could be more harmful to humans.
"I am specifically thinking about a worry at the moment that maybe the new variant is going to turn out to have more infectivity in the blood than does classical or sporadic CJD, " Brown said. "I don't think that is going to happen but we don't know. "
He added that if there was a real danger of that happening an "explosion " of new cases would have already been detected in Britain, which in 1996 admitted that there was a strong link between BSE and its human equivalent CJD. But Brown noted that statisticians have said that one or two years must go by before the danger of an epidemic can be dismissed.
"We may be dealing with a non-problem, " he said.

Risk from beef-on-bone

Det Norske Veritas 16 Feb 98 Philip.Comer
An nternational consulting company called Det Norske Veritas has posted the methodological basis for the widely quoted risk estimate of 1 case on nvCJD per billion years per person from eating tissues attached to the spinal column [which translates to 2 cases per 34 years per 60 million UK population]. They are quick to say in the abstract that 'the risk estimate has a wide range of uncertainty.' The study was performed at the request of SEAC and MAFF and represents a sincere effort to calculate this difficult risk factor that impacted an important policy decision to ban T-bone steaks and so on in England.

"Assessment of Risk from Possible BSE Infectivity in Dorsal Root Ganglia": is available as a Web page or in Acrobat format for printing.

Supporting CJD Research

12 Feb 98 Debbie Oney of CJD Voice
"People often want to donate money to organizations that do CJD research which will hopefully lead to treatments and a cure and to organizations which provide services to CJD victims. If you know of any other organizations engaged in CJD research or service which you feel should be included in this list, or to get a copy of the completed donor recipient form filled out by the organizations please contact me.

The following is a list and brief description of organizations which have provided us with information on how donated money would be used. CJD Voice does not solicit donations of any type for any facility. The information was collected to be used as a reference for research and service organization donation information. Neither CJD Voice, nor its members, take responsibility for the legitimacy of these facilities, their practices, or the information they provided. Neither CJD Voice nor its members are liable for any use made of this information. will hopefully lead to treatments and a cure and to organizations which provide services to CJD victims.

United States
1.  Case-Western Reserve University
     Contact:  Neena Singh, Assistant Professor
                   Department of Pathology
                   Case Western Reserve University
                   Cleveland, Ohio 44106
                   Tel: 216-368-2617
                    E-mail: nxs2@po.cwru.edu
Currently working on inherited prion diseases and related conditions.
People can specify that the funds be used for prion-related research.

2.  Cornell University
     Ithaca, NY 14853
     Contact: Dr. Kelvin Lee, Assistant Professor
                  Chemical Engineering
                  120 Olin Hall
                  Cornell University
                  Ithaca NY 14853-5201
                  (607) 255-4215
                  fax: (607) 255-9166
                  email: khlee@cheme.cornell.edu
Any donations would be used to enhance and improve our ability to conduct
research in the following areas: premortem diagnosis of dementia (e.g. CJD)
via molecular barcoding of cerebrospinal fluid proteins or the metabolic
engineering of cells capable of improved production of pharmaceuticals.
Donations can be designated for either project or both. 

3. Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Founation, Inc.
    P.O. Box 611625
    North Miami, FL 33261-1625
    Internet: http://members.aol.com/crjakob
    Contact: Cecile L. Sardo at (954)704-0519  or  Mayra Lichter at (305)
891-7579
Donations are used to fund costs related to correspondence, publishing,
and communication.  Our focus now is to raise funds for a conference/symposium
of  a wide variety of experts (i.e. government, scientific, medical and CJD
family members) with different viewpoints on CJD.  We would like to fund other
projects like a fund for transportation and performances of  much needed
autopsies, but we do not have sufficient resources at the present time to
finance them.

4.  Sperling Foundation
     3295 Kincaid St
     Eugene, Or 97405 
     Contact: Dr. Thomas Pringle
                  tom@cyber-dyne.com   email best initially
                  541-484-0669          voice or fax
     Maintain Mad Cow webpage.
Donations would be used for basic research into CJD.  Our main interest
is in administration of sequencing the prion gene in various by selected
researchers worldwide.  We can sequence 1-5 genes with a donation of
$500-$2500 when there is cost-sharing at the laboratory institution.  We hope
to get at normal function of the prion gene by this approach; there would
major benefits from this to diagnosis and therapy development.  Our Web site
is currently maintained through income from endowment but donations are needed
and welcomed here as well.

5.  The University of Chicago
     Howard Hughes Medical Institute
     Dept of Molecular Genetics & Cell Biology
     Box MC1028
     5841 S. Maryland
     Chicago, Ill  60637
     Contact:  Susan Lindquist
                   Phone 773-702-8049      
                   Fax   773-702-7254 
                   e-mail  S-Lindquist@uchicago.edu
Donated funds would be used to develop a rapid assay for as a first
screen for potential therapeutic agents.  We will take advantage of the fact
that the mammalian prion protein appears to be converted to the conformation
characteristic of the disease when incubated with yeast proteins.

6.  The University of Chicago Medical Center Department of Neurology
     Contact:  Raymond P. Roos, M.D.
                   Professor and Chairman
                   Dept. of Neurology/MC2030
                   University of Chicago Medical Center
                   5841 South Maryland Ave.
                   Chicago, IL 60637
                   Phone number 773-702-6390
                   Fax number 773-702-7775
Support of research activities.

7. University of South Florida College of Medicine
    Deparment of Neurology
    Tampa FL 33612
    Contact: Michael Gold, M.D. (813)974-3100   
Donated funds will be used to pay for the transportation and autopsy of
patients with CJD. Funds will also be used to promote community awareness of
CJD and to pay for specialized studies of brain tissues.

8.  Washington University School of Medicine
     Department of Cell Biology and Physiology
     660 South Euclid Avenue
     St. Louis, MO 63110
     Contact:  Dr. David A. Harris
                   Tel: 314-362-4690
                   Fax: 314-362-7463
Laboratory research on the biology and therapy of CJD.

9.  Yale Medical School
     Section of Neuropathology, Dept. Surgery
     310 Cedar St., New Haven, CT. 06510
     Contact:  Laura Manuelidis, M.D.
                   Professor and Head of Neuropathology
                   203-785-4442 (note Yale is changing 3 digits of code (for
785) soon.
To support research on CJD infections, with animal, cellular and
molecular studies to clarify useful diagnostic, preventive and therapeutic
approaches and to understand fundamental properties of the infectious agent
and neurodegenerative processes in aging. 

Outside the United States
10. Laboratorium fr Molekulare Biologie
     Genzentrum
     Institut fr Biochemie
     Feodor-Lynen-Str. 25
     D-81377 Munich
     Fax: 49-89-74017-448
     Internet: http://www.lmb.uni-muenchen.de
     Contact: Dr. Stefan Weiss, Group Leader Prion Research
                  Tel.: -49-89-74017-410
Donations would be used for research regarding therapeutics for the
treatment of CJD and other scrapie related diseases.  Research which
enlightens the role of prions in the life cycle of prions and the search of
therapeutics which could block important steps within that cycle.

11. World Health Organization
     Division of Emerging and other Communicable 
     Diseases Surveillance and Control
     World Health Organization
     Avenue Appia
     CH-1211
     Geneva 27
     Switzerland
     Contact: Dr Martin Zeidler
                  Tel  00 41 22 791 4025
                  Fax 00 41 22 791 4893
                  Email zeidlerm@who.ch
WHO activities relating to CJD include promoting global CJD surveillance
through regional and national workshops, establishing regional collaborating
centres to provide expertise to developing countries on diagnosis of CJD and
the holding of meetings to discuss issues related to human and animal TSEs.
Donated funds would be used for these types of activities.  It is possible to
direct money to a particular project.
.

The sweet smell of succes

February 15, 1998 Agence France-Presse
SYDNEY - A team of Australian and Japanese scientists has discovered how to make cattle produce less gas but more meat and milk -- by improving their diet.The world's super-flatulent cattle herd is now blamed for generating 15 to 20 percent of all the methane resulting from human activity.

Methane is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide in causing global warming.

The global herd is estimated at 1.33 billion with an additional 1.1 billion sheep and goats. Australian government scientist Graeme McCrabb and colleague Mitsunori Kurihara of Japan's National Institute of Animal Industry have found that an improved diet produces not only a better-mannered cow but a much more productive one as well.

"We found cattle on a forage diet produced four-and-a-half times as much methane for every kilo gain in live weight as cattle on a high quality grain-based diet," said McCrabb, of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization's tropical agriculture division.

"This research indicates it is possible not only to reduce methane emissions from ruminant animals such as cattle and goats in the tropics, but at the same time to increase total food protein output and so improve the diets of millions of people."

McCrabb says it is all perfectly logical. "The energy that is being wasted as gas emissions from animals on a poor diet is instead converted to production in a balanced, high-quality diet," he said.

Bone meal and mad cow disease

Cooperative Extension Service with  Dr. Curtis Smith NMSU
[We are trying to verify this report and find  its original source --webmaster]
Question: I saw a television program about Mad Cow disease and on in the program they warned us that it was dangerous to use bone meal in the garden. Most of the books I read recommend bone meal, especially for bulbs. What can I do? Is it really dangerous? What else can I use? Answer: I didn't see that program, but I did find an article written by a medical doctor about this topic. To read the article I found, it is in the Garden Forum with the title "bonemeal.txt". It also referenced a USDA website. The website has excellent and detailed information about bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), the Mad Cow disease that has been in the news and is the cause of concern over the use of bone meal.

There were apparently four deaths of gardeners in Great Britain attributed to use of bone meal from cattle which may have had this disease. It is believed that they inhaled bone meal dust as they were applying bone meal to their garden.

The first point made by the doctor who wrote the article was that the rendering process which generates bone meal used in Great Britain in the 1970's and 1980's was a part of the problem. The process used in the United States is different and appears to produce a safe bone meal. The second, and a very important consideration, is that BSE has not been detected in cattle in the U.S. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has an active program of testing for BSE and veterinarians across the country are involved. Any cattle suspected of exhibiting BSE symptoms are tested.

None have been shown to be infected in the U.S. No cattle or meat from British cattle have been imported into the U.S. since 1989, so the chance of coming into contact with contaminated bone meal is extremely remote. Nevertheless, if you wish to be absolutely certain to avoid infection, you can wear a dust mask when handling bone meal or you can switch to another source of phosphorus in your garden.

World Health Threat on the Horizon ..... Fact, Fantasy or Apocalypse Now !

April 23, 1997 opinion Nicholas Kenneth Skoblenick Bio-Medical Electronics Technologist Consultant
This article is speculative -- there is no hard data available on infectivity of bone meal. -- webmaster
For the past few decades, meat processor have solved the problems, of disposing the renderings or carcases of cattle, sheep and poultry remains after the vital meats are removed, by processing them with heat and dry the remains out, converting the slurry and bones into ' bone meal ', a very popular source of phosphorous and calcium in dairy, poultry, nurseries and organic gardeners.

A major problem is just now being realized, with health officials cornered as to what to do. Mad-Cow Disease, is an undetectable and incurable disease, livestock and people die from. This disease, lies in limbo in the tissues of animals, plants and humans for as long as 30 years, after being ingested, before it surfaces with avengance . Mad-Cow Disease, when active, attacks the cell membrane, especially in the brain, turning the tissue into hollow sponged structures. The brain, for example, controls automatic electrical impulses, controlling movement like balancing, walking and organ functions. When the disease strikes, the brain looses most of its volume and becomes, gradually, a hollow sponge, until the victim dies from loss of brain functions to sustain life. There is NO test or preventative measures, including cures, medications or methods of detecting this horrible and unforgiving disease. Once you get it, its only a matter of time, just a few months, before life ends. The worst thing about this disease, is that it lies dormant for as long as 30 years, before becoming active AND WAS TOTALLY PREVENTABLE !!!

The bone meal which was made from carcases of the remains of processing cattle and sheep for their meat, because of its high protein supplement and essential mineral content, is being fed back into the food chain as supplement for grains and feed for the live stock industries. Essentially, these creatures are, in part, eating their relatives, unknowingly to be fattened up sooner for the meats they grow and these meats are sold to the general public as Grade-A, Government Inspected quality products.

Up to this point, all this is true, until a fudge-factor is thrown in and the Mad-Cow Disease was studied after the crisis in England last year.. The processing temperatures used to breakdown the renderings, are not thorough enough, a diseased animal, with the disease still in limbo, is processed with the DNA Gene still in tack.

The processing of the remains is not hot enough to totally breakdown the DNA Gene or Chromosome, carrying the Mad-Cow Disease Gene, back into its original and basic carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, phosphorous and oxygen components or compounds. These dangerous Genes get through the processing, partly unchanged and therefore completely replicatable when introduced back into living tissue, be it plant, animal, human or fish.

In short, over 30 years of exposure has infected, potential, an incalculable number of the world population, just by eating these plants, meats and foods supplemented with this bone meal which MIGHT have been contaminated with the disease, if processing was not thorough enough. The term 'thorough' is based on economics, that is, how much or little cost of fuel required to heat these remains is needed to complete the reduction of the renderings into bone meal. If just, for example, 5 more minutes, as a safety margin, were enforced, then the Mad-Cow Disease Gene, in the infected renderings, would have been totally destroyed, now because of the profit margins demanded by the shareholders, some unreputable practices seem to be more relevant than human health and safety requirements, especially in the third world, where standards of doing business is very questionable !

So, what was meant to be a nutritional supplement for livestock and organic gardening, may now be the beginning of a major health catastrophe of the human civilization and healthy gene pool for our future generations. Officials are at a loss as what to do. Isolated cases of this disease, is just now beginning to surface, last year, some 8 cases were reported in North America, all died with no hope of abating the disease.

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