This morning I got up earlier than I normally would have for this conference because they had an early bird presentation at 7 that I was pretty much totally excited to hear! It was called "An Updated Primer On Wasting Diseases: Humans, Animals and Ecosystem Health". Sounds complicated and tedious? Maybe - but not! It was a lecture by a Dr who is doing studies on the migration of prion diseases in wildlife, but she also focussed some on prion diseases in humans. In case you're not sure about prions diseases or TSE (transmissible spongiform encepholethopies), they're the cause of scrapie and mad cow disease and - in humans, CJD (Crutzfeld-Jakob Disease). Oh and the most interesting prion disease, Kuru, or the laughing disease (people literally laugh themselves to death!)
I know enough about prion diseases to know if you get them you're toast. It's a neurodegenerative disease specifically but they've found it can actually be found all over the body. Prion proteins are actually found in everyone's brains. They're very common. But when one gets a infected by this abnormal pathogenic agent, they cause these prion proteins to fold over themselves. Once this happens its only a matter of months to about a year until you die from it. The good thing is that in humans, it's when tissue matter comes into contact with tissue matter. So kuru for instance, started because there were these tribal people that would eat the brains of their dead relatives in order to get intelligence or wealth - and instead they got kuru!
Most cases of CJD (or vCJD) that have happened (I think according to CDC about 255 cases world wide) come from iatrogenic methods or medical methods. Brain surgery, corneal transplants, etc. And bring it down to my base level...
When someone has, most primarily, any type of neurological procedure, that's when the risk comes. Any patient suspected with CJD that has a procedure, those sets then have to be handled comptely differently. In fact, they're usually just disposed of. But - you can't just throw them away or incinerate them. There's a specific way to handle them before you incinerate them in order to inactivate the prions and - it's a really harsh and time consuming way. There's usually always certain ratios of sodium hypochlorite or sodium hydroxide that have to be used and then agressive temperatures of steam heat used for extended periods of time. And, for instance, one of the speakers yesterday was from England and he said when they have suspected cases, the instrument sets are put in certain containers and then transported to a level 3 military storage facility. Crazy!
So that's human prion diseases, but then animal diseases such as scrapies dates back about 600 years ago! And now the U.S. Has been the first to report CWD, Chronic Wasting Disease. And slowly other countries are showing it like Canada and most recently Norway. CWD has progressively and aggressively affected wildlife specifically through deer and elk.
It affects their brains but they've found the disease carries into tissue and their antlers and their organs. And as the disease spreads they've found that it can infect other animals that eat the dead carcasses of CWD animals. And now, the researches who are based in WI and see this disease spreading rapidly through the state, have concern with humans who might ingest deer, better known as venison. See, my life long hatred of venison is well founded!:)
Ok I'll stop with my blog classroom... But all that to say, if you're reading this and you have a forkful of deer... STOP!
And that's all I'll say on the matter:)
Ok back to where I am.
They just finished building a trail along the river that runs down here. Well i think it was finished in 2013, but I've never had a chance to walk or run it before so to me they just finished it. So this morning I had some free time and the sun was hidden behind the clouds and so I went run/exploring this trail. It's called Mission something or other and was really pretty! There's this really strong, sweet smelling flower all over down here, I know the smell but can't place it. Anyways, it was floating all over the air. And then there are these ridiculously chirping birds who are way too happy for morning! There were about three levels of the river that I passed, it would just flow into this massive waterfall and then the landscape would dip down about 5-10 feet. It was relatively quiet this morning and enjoyable.
I got back and showered and then walked down the river area to find some late morning breakfast.
And I sat by the river
Well! Off to more intriguing sessions like "The War On Biofilm"! And "Flexible and Semi Rigid Endoscopes"... And so many more!:). This year is actually turning out to be an interesting presentation year!
Ok! Back to walk along the river... And keep trying to guess where I am!