Sunday, July 01, 2012

Papua New Guinea caused by eating human brains

A deadly disease in Papua New Guinea caused by eating human brains!

The traditional funeral ritual of the Fore people in Papua New Guinea is for family members to consume the bodies of the deceased. Unfortunately, eating human brains is the best way to contract a deadly, untreatable disease called Kuru. Kuru causes tremors, weakness, inability to stand, depression and emotional instability, and eventually the inability to eat.
Perhaps the most disturbing symptom is the spontaneous, uncontrollable laughter. This symptom is common enough that Kuru is also known as the “laughing sickness”. Thankfully, no one has reported having the disease since 2005.

In Papua New Guinea, Kuru comes from a prion (an infectious protein) that attacks the brain. The prion is transmitted by the consumption of an already infected brain. The prion has a long incubation period; it can stay latent for 40 years after the initial infection before the host begins to develop symptoms. Kuru has no cure, and there’s no way to treat it.

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