Comment: Edinburgh University lecture on CJD

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It is possible that one in 2,000 Britons could carry CJD. 

 

However, only a very small number of these 'carriers' will develop the disease.

 
 

 

The video (04/11/2010) on the top left is from a professor who is a specialist in CJD research. 

The lecture is technical but it is worth watching especially the following parts.

My comments below are in blue and red; after the timings.

32:00 - This section is an explanation of how BSE arose. 

33:00 - There were 180,000 clinical cases and an estimated 1-3 million infected cattle, in the U.K., entering the human food chain.

34:10 - There may be other routes or sources of infection which we still haven’t eliminated yet.

This website has discussed the relevance of growth hormones and vaccines.

36:20 - What is going to happen in the other two groups of the population? 

All three of the genetic types (MM, MV and VV) were detected in Kuru. (2008)

Experiments on mice, reported in the New Scientist, suggest that more than one genetic group will be affected by variant CJD (2004).

See page on variant CJD in a second genetic type.

40:20 - The lecturer stated the following: ‘we can’t do a test’ (for CJD in blood) and ‘there is no treatment’ (for the disease).

The Justice for Andy website discusses a possible blood test. 

This website mentioned a possible treatment which may slow down the progression of the disease.

41:00 - The prevalence of variant CJD in the U.K. is about 1 in 10,000.

Another scientist suggested that the prevalence of variant CJD could be 1 in 1,000.  See the documentary for further details. 

45:10 - This section examines how the disease is passed on.

46:00 - The average age of the (variant CJD) patients has not changed significantly since 1996.

See the Justice for Andy Website for details of the victims generally young ages. 

46:20 - Sporadic CJD: has no real change ... no trend towards a clear increase.

According to a CJD Support Network report there were 21 deaths from sporadic CJD, in 1970-1971, and 67 in 2002. "Most of the increase has occurred since 1990".

The Edinburgh CJD unit states that the number of deaths in 2009 was 78.   

Compare (46:35) in the top video with the bottom video. The 'best fit line' suggests that there is a trend.

There is a statistically significant relationship between time (years) and the number of deaths from sporadic CJD.  This was for the twenty year period 1990-2009.

A statistical technique, Spearman's Rank, was used to examine the relationship between time and deaths.  The correlation was 0.83 compared to a threshold of 0.59 for statistical significance at the 99% level.  There is only a 1% chance that this relationship occured by chance. This was for 20 items of data.  

The cause of this increased incidence of sporadic CJD needs to be examined.

47:00 - Why is this (increase in Alzheimer’s) happening ... society is ageing.

For an alternative viewpoint, see ‘Dying for a Hamburger’, M. Waldman and M. Lamb, (2004:1).

“Although Alzheimer’s is a disease of the elderly, the reason for our current epidemic of AD is not related to our increased lifespan”.

51:00 - It is incredibly difficult to find a cure for these diseases.

52:00 - There is a ‘critical infectious dose’ (a threshold) to the resulting transmission of these diseases.