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Diseases » Kuru » Introduction


Kuru: Introduction

A brain damaging "laughing disease" in Papua New Guinea, where till recently, tribes ate brains of the dead. It is a very obscure brain disease caused by abnormal brain proteins (prions). Kuru was associated with transmission by eating human brains as part of funerals in some tribes of Papua New Guinea. The disease is now basically exstinct. ...more »

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Kuru: Complications

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Causes of Kuru

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Kuru: Undiagnosed Conditions

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Misdiagnosis and Kuru

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Kuru: Rare Types

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Kuru: Animations

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Kuru: Broader Related Topics

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Article Excerpts about Kuru

Kuru is a rare, degenerative, and fatal brain disorder that occurs primarily among the Fore natives in the highlands of New Guinea. The disease is thought to result from the practice of ritualistic cannibalism, in which relatives consume the tissues (including brain) of a deceased family member. (Source: excerpt from NINDS Kuru Information Page: NINDS)

Definitions of Kuru:

A prion disease found exclusively among the Fore linguistic group natives of the highlands of NEW GUINEA. The illness is primarily restricted to adult females and children of both sexes. It is marked by the subacute onset of tremor and ataxia followed by motor weakness and incontinence. Death occurs within 3-6 months of disease onset. The condition is associated with ritual cannibalism, and has become rare since this practice has been discontinued. Pathologic features include a noninflammatory loss of neurons that is most prominent in the cerebellum, glial proliferation, and amyloid plaques. (From Adams et al., Principles of Neurology, 6th ed, p773) - (Source - Diseases Database)

A progressive disease of the central nervous system marked by increasing lack of coordination and advancing to paralysis and death within a year of the appearance of symptoms; thought to have been transmitted by cannibalistic consumption of diseased brain tissue since the disease virtually disappeared when cannibalism was abandoned - (Source - WordNet 2.1)

Kuru is listed as a "rare disease" by the Office of Rare Diseases (ORD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This means that Kuru, or a subtype of Kuru, affects less than 200,000 people in the US population.
Source - National Institutes of Health (NIH)


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