Brain eating, prion science, and latest chapter in the story of kuru

Warwick comments on recent developments in the study of the disease Kuru.

Johns Hopkins University Press Blog

Guest post by Warwick Anderson

We invited Warwick Anderson, author of  The Collectors of Lost SoulsTurning Kuru Scientists into Whitemen, to comment on a study published last week in the journal Nature, covered in the Washington Post and elsewhere, about genetic resistance to the molecule that causes kuru and several other fatal brain diseases.

anderson for blogThe story of kuru keeps on giving. Just when we think there’s nothing more to learn, we find that another chapter, or at least a footnote, is being written.

The recent discovery in London, by John Collinge and his team, of a variant of the protein that forms prions, which offers protection against such pathological forms, is intriguing. In The Collectors of Lost Souls I described the conflicted and perilous history of research into the fatal brain disease kuru, which afflicted the Fore people of highland New Guinea in the 1950s, threatening to…

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