Absolute ignorance and perpetuation on your BSE page

Posted by: Chris Danek ( National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C. ) on July 01, 1996 at 01:24:35:

I am a worker at NIH - National Institutes of Health in Washington D.C. and I
am writing in protest of the absolute ignorance and perpetuation of this on
the web page at www.mcspotlight.org/beyond/madcow.html. The page strikes beef
as deadly and dangerous, and strikes the government as a weak organiztion.

It is clear that whatever the government choose to tell the public or
what reassurances they try to give, British beef is NOT safe to eat.

This kind of undocumented knowledge given to the public without
scientific evidence or endorsement is outright wrong. The public is
undergoing an unnecessary scare about Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy.

In any given cell, there are many proteins, coded for by the evolutionary
language - DNA and RNA. A protein has a purpose, and it carries out this
purpose relentlessly, until it is either destroyed, or the circumstances
dictate otherwise. There is a protein in the brains of all animals tested,
including humans, whose purpose is not known, but has a deviant. A
protein that underwent a mutation at some point changed by one amino acid
- just one. On a chain of about 1000 aminos, one change is relatively
insignificant, but this difference changed the configuration of the
protein, giving it a completely different purpose. This purpose: to
change the original proteins into copies of itself. They called these new
proteins prions (PREE-ons) for Protinaceous Infecting Molecules. These
prions have no cellular DNA or RNA to speak of. They 'infect' by changing
the other original protein I was speaking about (now called Cellular
Prions, or PrPc's) into more harmful Prions, which in turn, infect other
PrPc's. The brain continually produces PrPc if it is in low supply. The
presence of Harmful Prions instigates lysosomes (the 'cleaners' of a cell)
to attack, simply by absorbing the prion. So a cycle is formed: The brain
produces a protein (PrPc), a prion changes it into a deadly prion, this
prion goes to 'attack' other PrPc's, and finally, the deadly prion is
attacked by the lysosome. It seems like a relatively harmless cycle, but
the problem is that the cell fills up with these proteins and bursts.
Areas of the brain die, creating the sponglike texture that is attributed
to the name, which literally means, cow's spongy brain.

The human brain has a similar protein, and a similar disease. It is
termed CJD. This disease spontaneousely occurs in the population, at the
rate of 1 per million. It occurs in countries that eat beef, and in
countries where vegatarianism is popular. There are 30 amino acids that
are different in the BSE prion, and the CJD prion. There is no chance
that it can be mutated to fit the human protein. The chances of that
happening are nearly 20(the number of different amino acids) to the
30th(the number of base pairs that would have to be mutated), times
1,000,000-5,000,000,000,000(the chances of a single mutation happening).
These statistics do not incorporate the fact that all 30 mutations would
have to exist in the correct positions, and out of 1000 aminos, the
chances of that itself happeneing are virtually nil. The diease can be
commuted horizontally (by eating the diseased tissue - a common practice
with farmers - feeding cows with other cows) WITHIN the species, but not
via the bovine-human species barrier. Understand that the barrier between
the cow's and the sheep (it's couterpart called scrapie) is very small,
and that is most likely how the disease was transmitted in the first
place. There is a defecit of information concerning the vertical
(hereditary) transmission of the disease, and I will not go into that

Please review what you have stated on this page, and realize that you are
only contributing to the roller coaster that the media has pushed, taking
the public for a ride which is totally unnecessary. Please contact me if
you have questions.

Christopher Danek
National Institutes of Health
National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

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