Monday, May 23, 2011

World Between Me News

Kuru Disease- Cannibalism Facts


Many years ago people believed in many things. The times really differed from what we have now. Especially medicine as nobody back then had a drug store to go every time they had a cough or flu. Instead people experimented with things I still can't believe you could do. Some of their experiments were successful weather it healed a wound or fought a disease. Other experiments made everything worse. New diseases were formed then spread.
Once of these diseases is Kuru Disease.

Kuru, also known as laughing sickness due to the outbursts of laughter that mark its second phase, was first noted in New Guinea in the early 1900s. By the 1950s, anthropologists and Australian government officials reported that kuru was rampant with approximately 8,000 cases. The infected group partook in ritual acts of mortuary cannibalism, which behaviour was later determined to be responsible for the epidemic transmission of the disease. the disease all but disappeared with the termination of cannibalism in New Guinea

Kuru is a prion disease very like scrapie in sheep, BSE mad cow disease and its human form vCJD (variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease). Kuru was the first transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (prion disease) discovered in humans.

Kuru is a disease passed on during funeral rites of the Fore tribe when the body of the dead was ritually cooked and eaten. The brain, the most infected part of the body of someone with Kuru was eaten by the closest females relatives of the departed. The women and children scooped out the brain from the skull and would not wash their hands for many weeks after the funeral. The disease was probably also passed onto many others in the tribe because of this practice.

Kuru dementia is now almost non existent for two main reasons. The disease wiped out many tribes who practiced this ritual and Government in New Guinea discouraged cannibalism. It is believed the disease existed for only a short time as elders could not remember it when they were young.
Kuru Infected Brain

Signs of Kuru, like variant CJD is believed to have a long incubation period of many years. Signs and symptoms include profound neurological deterioration that manifests itself with disordered movement, tremors, unsteadiness, mood disorder and in some dementia. Death followed a comatose state within 6 to 12 months after the first appearance of symptoms.

There is no treatment for Kuru.

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