Human brain and beef cow

Human brain and beef cow

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Credit: GJLP/CNRI/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Illustration of the risk of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Magnetic resonance image (MRI) scan of a normal human brain and a beef cow. Mad cow disease or BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) appeared in 1985 in Britain. It is believed to have arisen from scrapie, a similar disease in sheep and goats, and transmitted by feeding cattle with products from infected sheep carcasses. The agent responsible for BSE is a virus-like organism known as a prion. There is concern that infected beef and cattle-related products eaten by people may cause the related Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in humans.

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