Ever since I have started writing for this website against meat, I have received both bouquets and brickbats. I can quite understand people’s reluctance to change their current way of life. But, I will continue my campaign against meat in any form, especially eating beef. Here is another compelling reason why you should not eat beef.
A relatively new disease has sprung up and that is the human form of Mad Cow Disease and it is called as vCJD — variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease. New variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease accounts for less than 1% of cases, and tends to affect younger people. New variant CJD can result when someone is exposed to contaminated meat products.
From 1995 through mid August 2006, the world watched in horror as this disease began to manifest. A total of 195 human cases of vCJD were reported worldwide, 162 in the UK, 20 in France, 4 in Ireland, 2 in the United States (US), and 1 each in Canada, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, and Spain. Seven of the non-UK case-patients were most likely exposed to the BSE agent in the UK because of their having resided there during a key exposure period of the UK population to the BSE agent.
What is vCJD?
New variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) is an infectious form of CJD that is related to “mad cow disease” (bovine spongiform encephalitis). The agent responsible for mad cow disease is believed to be the same agent responsible for vCJD in humans.
What are the symptoms of this disease:
- Personality changes
- muscle twitching
- Muscle stiffness
- Nervous, jumpy feelings
- Changes in gait (walking, locomotion)
- Lack of coordination — stumbling, falls
- Impairment of speech
- Hard-to-understand speech or mumbling
- Rapidly developing dementia and confusion
- Memory loss.
The outcome is usually very poor and most patients die within 6 to 7 months. The cause of death is usually infection, heart failure, or respiratory failure.
How is disease caused?
The causes of variant and classical forms of CJD seem to be different. Variant CJD is associated with eating meat from cows infected with BSE.
Scientists suggest that British cows have been infected with BSE because they had been fed with remains of sheep. Sheep suffer from a neurological disease called scrapie. It is believed that infected cows had brain damage because of special proteins called as Prions, which was transmitted from the sheep.
What are Prions?
Prions are proteins, which are said to be the main culprit in causing vCJD. A prion is folded differently from the normal protein. It also has the ability to make normal proteins that touch it fold the same abnormal way, leading to a domino effect causing abnormal protein folding that spreads from one protein to protein beside it. This is a completely new form of disease, caused by a protein that’s not alive but is capable of transforming the proteins around it.
Since 1996, governments all over the world have tightened regulations on meat products and there have been stringent testing. vCJD is a totally preventable disease and is related to our food habits.
When we flout nature’s laws we must remember that: Nature has no compassion. Nature accepts no excuses and the only punishment it knows is death.
Eric Hoffer, Reflections on the Human Condition
Dr. Rajesh Vishwanathan, MBBS, became disillusioned with the impersonal and aggressive allopathic system and trained and qualified in Yoga, meditation, Naturopathy and Homeopathy. He dreams of Integrating Allopathic medicine with the Alternative systems of healing.