New Fast Test for Prion Diseases

By John Fauber, Journal Sentinel

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health say they have developed a faster test to detect prion diseases such as mad cow disease in cattle and Creutzfeld-Jakob disease in humans.

Prion diseases are fatal disorders that leave sponge-like holes in the brain and are believed to be caused by clusters of infections proteins. They can be difficult to detect, especially early on, and may take years before producting symptoms.

Infections prions can be found outside the brain in urine, blood, saliva and spinal fluid, but often in miniscule amounts.

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