Resistance to prion disease in humans

Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are rare human neurodegenerative disorders that are caused by infectious proteins called prions. A naturally occurring variant of the human prion has been found that completely protects against the disease. A protective variant of the prion protein was discovered in the Fore people of Papua New Guinea. Beginning in the early 1900s, the prion disease kuru spread among Fore women and children as …

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D. Carleton Gajdusek, 85

Virologist D. Carleton Gajdusek, who was awarded the 1976 Nobel Prize in medicine for unraveling the nature of the prion disease Kuru, has died, as reported by the New York Times. Gajdusek’s work on Kuru, a fatal encephalopathy found in the Fore people of New Guinea, proved that human transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) could be …

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