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Animal Disease and Human Health Risk

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Is It Already Too Late?

If you have been eating beef and using other animal products for years is it already too late? The answer is clearly no. It is probable that many people have not yet been exposed to the prions that cause the transmissible encephalopathies. These individuals could maintain their low risk of ever coming down with prion-related diseases by completely avoiding animal products.

Some may not feel that they are ready to adopt a vegetarian diet. Others feel there is no reason to do so because they have likely been exposed by this time to the infectious prions. Even for these individuals there is good news. In the case of the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, the evidence suggests that the total amount of prion exposure affects the incubation period of the disease.67 Specifically, in animal tests, the more prions the creature is exposed to, the sooner it will tend to develop the disease. Of course, no such study could ethically be done in humans. (An answer is also not likely from observational studies because we have no way to measure or even estimate how much BSE-infected meat any given person has eaten in his or her lifetime.)

However, in harmony with the existing animal research, it is expected that there will be variations from one person to another in the delay time between eating prion-infected material and contracting the disease. Perhaps someone who eats large amount of foods containing prions will develop the disease in 10 years or less, while someone with moderate, yet significantly less exposure may develop the condition in 15 to 20 years. Another with still smaller exposure may not come down with the illness for 30 years or more.

Thus, even if a person is doomed to come down with a condition like CJD because of previous exposure to prions, it may be possible to delay the onset of the disease significantly.68 And do not forget: a diet that moves away from animal products can dramatically provide an added reward by helping to decrease your risk of other diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. The epidemic of BSE in the United Kingdom has caused us to focus on four issues that are more expansive than the disease itself. They are listed in Figure 14: Issues Raised by BSE Epidemic.

There is evidence that governments worldwide have failed to vigorously address the concerns of animal diseases and their impact on human health. Why wait until the next epidemic strikes closer to home when the warning signals are already sounding? Why should thousands more die prematurely from dementing diseases? Why not begin making changes today that will decrease your risk of these diseases?

67 Lacey RW. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy is being maintained by vertical and horizontal transmission. BMJ 1996 Jan;312(7024):180-181.

68 Dealler SF, Lacey RW. Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies: the threat of BSE to man. Food Microbiology 1990;7: 253-279.

Notice of Credit
The article above is compliments of the Uchee Pines Institute, Seale, Alabama, a teaching and treatment facility devoted to natural remedies. For mor information, call 334-855-4781,e-mail:, or visit their Website:

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