Thu Apr 10, 2003
By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - Cannibalism in ancient times may have caused epidemics of brain destroying diseases like kuru and Creutzfeld Jacob disease, a team of British researchers suggests.
Those two diseases and the human form of mad cow disease are believed to be caused by prions, an abnormal protein missing nucleic acid, that can cause proteins to clump in the brain. The diseases can be spread by eating flesh contaminated with prions.