New version of mad cow suspected

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Published: Dec. 18, 2008 at 10:31 AM


LONDON, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- British medical researchers say they're concerned a new human version of mad cow disease has been detected, officials said.

While most cases of new variant Creutzfeld-Jakob disease (vCJD) in Britain have occurred in people with a

genetic profile carried by 42 percent of the population, the BBC reported that a young man with a different genetic profile appears to have the disabling disease.

The report said the diagnosis, which must be confirmed by biopsy, suggests at least 90 percent of Britain's population is susceptible to vCJD.

The Times of London said the prion protein that malfunctions to cause the disease comes in three versions. People with two copies of the amino acid methionine -- the MM genetic type-- have been thought to be most vulnerable to vCJD. The new case, however, is in a person with the MV genotype. It is unknown whether people with the VV genotype are vulnerable, the newspaper said.




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