Torofy Blog

Depression and Heart Disease

What Happened to Mad Cow Disease?


If you were around in the ‘90s, and especially
if you lived in the UK, you might remember all the panic about mad
cow disease. It’s a disorder that’s killed thousands
of cattle since the ‘80s and ‘90s, and because a version of it can also infect
humans, a lot of people were really freaked out. Today, thanks to safer farming, it probably
isn’t anything you need to worry about. And even though scientists still don’t know
exactly how it works, we can say one thing for sure: Your steak is almost definitely probably not
infected. [INTRO ♪] Mad cow disease is the common name for a condition
called Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or BSE. It’s a progressive neurological disease
that affects cows. And over time, it causes severe brain and
nervous system damage, which eventually leads to trouble standing
and walking, and changes in mood, like increased aggression and nervousness. The “spongiform” part of the name just
means spongy, because the infection creates a bunch of holes
in the cow’s brain where its cells should be. The first two cases of BSE were identified
in the UK in 1986, but it takes a really long time for symptoms
to show up, so scientists think the first infections probably
date back to the ‘70s. During the outbreak’s peak in 1993, almost
a thousand new cattle were infected each week, but that number has
gone down dramatically since then. BSE is caused by a bizarre, self-replicating
protein called a prion. Other pathogens, like bacteria and viruses,
use DNA to make copies of themselves, but a prion is just a deformed version of a normal protein that’s found in cell membranes. Sometimes those proteins can go rogue and
get bent out of shape, but right now, we don’t totally understand
how or why it happens. And when proteins become prions, they can
bind to other proteins like them and make them bend in the same way, and then those messed-up prions corrupt even
more proteins, and so on. Clumps of them collect and spread in the brain
and nervous system, eventually causing brain damage. But that takes a while, so symptoms usually
don’t show up until years later. All of that is terrible, but how BSE got started
is almost as horrifying. It probably happened because cattle were being
fed ground-up meat and bones from sheep and other
cows. Ugh! There’s another prion disease in sheep called
scrapie, and it’s possible that scrapie prions may
have jumped to cows through their food and caused this whole mess. But it’s also possible BSE just showed up
when a random protein folded the wrong way. No matter how it started, the cattle feed
only made things worse— because after cows died of BSE, they were
ground up and fed to healthy cows, so the disease kept
going. Unfortunately, a version of the disease can
infect people, too. The human version of BSE is called variant
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or vCJD, and it’s also caused by bent prions. We don’t know for sure that it comes from
eating infected cattle, but since they’re both prion diseases and
both outbreaks happened around the same time, most scientists think that’s the case. Like with mad cow disease, the symptoms of
vCJD can take years to show up, but once they do, things move pretty quickly. Brain degeneration happens in just a few months,
with symptoms like trembling, dementia, trouble walking, and
eventually a coma. Since no cure exists yet, patients usually
die within a year. Worldwide, there have been about 230 cases
of vCJD, and about 180 of those were in the UK. The rest were mainly in Europe, and there
have been only four cases in the United States, but they were all picked up overseas. The rate at which people have been getting
infected has gone way down since the ‘90s, but scientists will keep studying it because
there are other kinds of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease not caused
by cows. Before mad cow disease was a thing, we knew
about CJD as a rare condition that could appear if a random protein went
bad, usually through an inherited mutation, or through medical procedures like transplants. Today, we keep the risk of variant CJD low
by giving cows safer food and by making sure no nervous system tissue
gets into our beef. And even though the risk is small, you also
can’t donate blood in the U.S. if you spent too much time in high-risk countries
or got a blood transfusion in Europe, because there’s a chance prions
could be spread through blood, too. Mainly, it’s those new farming practices
that have really helped get the disease under control, and in 2016, there were no new reports of
BSE in cows in the UK for the first time since the outbreak started. Which is both exciting and a relief. Also, because mad cow disease is transmitted
through nervous system tissue, there’s no evidence you can get it from
milk or the meat used to make things like hamburgers
and steak. So your roast beef is not out to get you. Which is always good to know. Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow, and special thanks to Patreon patron Scott
Sorrell for asking us about mad cow disease! If you’d like to submit your questions or
just support the show, you can do so at patreon.com/scishow. [OUTRO ♪]

100 thoughts on “What Happened to Mad Cow Disease?

  1. Swept under the rug. That's where it "went". You know what percentage of cows they test in Japan? 100%. In the US? 3? 4%? Symptoms take YEARS to show up and often only past the point they're killed, potentially letting lots of them slip through.

  2. I hear cooking it won't eliminate it but what if you cook your meat really long all the way through how is the bacteria going to survive than?

  3. That's me!

    I lived in England from 1990-1992 (while working for AAPL) and even though i was a regular blood donor, I'm now not allowed to (due to mad cow "risk").

    It's a shame because I'm naturally cytomegalo resistant. People with compromised immune systems (think AIDS, leukemia, etc) want it for their transfusions so THEY can get some resistance.

    But no.

    It's not an exaggeration to say people are dying because i haven't been able to donate for 25 years.

  4. 3:58 "Also, because Mac Cow Disease is transferred through nervous system tissue, there's no evidence you can get it from milk or the meat used to make things like hamburgers and steak."
    What's the current thinking on the most likely pathogen transmission mechanism for the 230 people who died?

  5. The same disease affects cannibal tribes, who eat their dead. Normally elders get to eat the brain, and thats where the risk of infection is the most. I dont eat animal brains anymore.

  6. Simply because I had lived in Europe with US army I will never be allowed to donate blood because of the meat from England that was sold to commissaries on base. Well, it’s been 20 years And I haven’t started mooing yet.

  7. There is zero cases of contracting vCJD though blood. I would need to see a source that says that there's any chance of it happening, because it's never happened

  8. Huh a video about disease with a pre-vid ad about "invitrogen" color enhancing antibodies to create "dazzling" colors to help make every cell researchers scientific work "go across the finish…"

  9. The Europeans are still worried about human BSE. The disease has such a long latency period they have no idea how many people are walking around with the disease that have not manifested it yet. That is one reason they buy all their human plasma from the US, from fear of taking plasma from a crypto BSE person and transfusing it into hundreds of recipients.

  10. Glad you touched on the blood donation angle for the U.S. Every single time the bloodmobile comes to town, I pop in and ask if I'm eligible yet. They say they're working on a screening test but I'm still not allowed to donate as I lived in Germany 1990-2002.

  11. My Grandfather's brother in the U.S. got mad cow disease and died. So, he was one of the four cases in the U.S.? Wow.

  12. my mother literally stopped buying beef or any cow products (gelatin) for 5 years while i was growing up because of this.

  13. Wow, feeding livestock, livestock? Forcing the cridders to be cannables. Food to feed them that scarce, or is man just that lazy? We create these horrible things to save a buck!?

  14. My preschool teacher had mad cow disease, she didn’t work in school for like 2-3 years, she forgot how to eat, how to move and how to be alive. She died in her mid 60’s.

  15. i worked in the rendoration department in a packing house, they wont process any of the brains or spinal cord there they just send it out with the paunch, which is what was in the cows stomach when it dies

  16. I read an article on a different VPN. It stated that the cause of mad cow disease was the canola oil in the cattle feed. They are lying about the grinded up Bones and meat. That makes no sense hey is so much cheaper than the labor they would have to do to create a new just for cattle out of cattle. This is a complete manipulation canola oil is the cause of mad cow disease. It's used in every fast food restaurant in the United States. Every bag of potato chips is fried in canola oil. Canola oil is sold in the UK as a pesticide. You have been lied to your information is wrong

  17. Vegans live longer and healthier on average, while animal-based diets correlate to 14/15 leading causes of death.

    A vegan diet is also the only diet shown to reverse heart disease, our number one killer. Check out sources to Cowspiracy for more info on environment, and Caldwell Esselstyn, Dean Ornish, Neal Barnard (pcrm website), Michael Greger (nutritionfacts website), Joel Kahn, John McDougall, and various other experts on health.

    Bottom line, there's no justification to be consuming animals when it is such an unnecessary act of overlooked violence to the planet, our bodies, and most importantly the animals who get raped into existence by the billions and stabbed in the throat every second you read this.

    We will put someone in jail for hurting animals for no good reason, yet here we are consuming meat and dairy simply because we won't give up the taste, or because of some endless list of easily debunked nonsense people rather believe first before a peer-reviewed, unbiased consensus: Meat and dairy suck for our bodies, while beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, grains, fruits and vegetables don't. No need to get sucked into corrupt "magazine miracle" diets. Healthiest people on earth = Beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, grains, fruits and vegetables.

    If you have any respect for the peaceful animals we exploit — fish, chicken and everything else — please go vegan.

  18. You could kill an entire countries population by infecting their food supply with prions they won't notice until it's to late, that stuff is scary

  19. That doesn't make much sense. Even if a cow ate prions, that protein would be degraded in the rumen and if not, it would be digested in the abomasum (stomach) and intestines. AND even if the prion was not degraded or digested at all, it still wouldn't be absorbed, because cows cannot absorb proteins, only aminoacids.

  20. I worked for the Meat Hygiene Service from 1995 to 2000. BSE was a huge deal, the precautions were insane

  21. Or, you know, the whole Kuru thing where people got a similar set of symptoms from eating the brains of their fellow tribe members after they died.

  22. I read that the prions bind with plants very well. When the animal dies or sheds the prions the plants take it up, another animal eats the plants and the cycle begins again. I hope that is not correct.

  23. ……wut? That few instances and it's considered such a risk factor for blood donation, I have to answer the same question even just a day after my last plasma donation? I thought scientists were supposed to be above paranoia. I have a greater chance of getting the plague yet no mention of it….. Way to go, science.

  24. Prion disease may not be so uncommon. Deer have a prion disease (wasting disease), and so do mink. There's another human prion disease – Kuru. And recent research even suggests Alzheimer's may involve 2 prions.

  25. It seems in the EU, BSE has jumped to cats. So, if and when I get another cat, no beef, no lamb, and no venison, as all are affected by prion diseases. Maybe I'm being overly cautious, but whatever I can do to prevent something like that…

  26. I was a kid in Ireland when I heard of this. Was so worried my brains would melt and come out my nose. 🤣

  27. i worked for a company that our Mother Company was DGF STOESS out of Germany…they had supposedly destroyed the cattle infested with the Mad Cow and SUPPOSEDLY BURIED them….WRONG…They waited till cameras were gone, and thy uncovered those cattle, and sent them to packing houses then processed them for the bone from the cattle. The company i worked for then, was knox Gelatin. They received SO-CALLED bone or OSSEIN from Germany, delivered it to our plant since gelatin is made with Animal Beef bone, and Pork Skins. in making dried Gelatin n sold for Perscription Drugs such as Capsul Gel or Fiser company known today as. since plastic capsuls are Gelatin . Our Bi-product we also made or rendered into ''ANIMAL FEED''. That animal feed they sold off to Great Plains Processing which then sold off the meal or fines to Farmers and dog food companys . Farmers bought the feed for supplemental feed. So the story tat it came out of Canada is somewhat right….That plant is in Iowa, and we sold off the Bi-product or rendered meal and sold off as animal meal to great plains which then further processed it and sold for animal feed. Thats where that all came from. I know i was removed or fired for being a..''WHISTLE BLOWER in other words. i also posted a story of it on a site years after so they could NOT try to say i was a disgruntled employee.. It was IMPORTANT people knew where it started again in Canada and the USA and know it was brought over to the USA from GERMANY…Thats where it all started …in 2001 ENGLAND, FRANCE, AND GERMANY! You can read it in the post. Look or scroll down in Comment section near bottom of the story. http://www.madehow.com/Volume-5/Gelatin.html

  28. This guy is dead wrong. Link proving hes wrong added below. Non familial SCJD is caused by atypical L-BSE and H-BSE. The lean muscle tissue is full of prion seeding unlike C-BSE that struck Europe. www.facebook.com/rachel.nicole.16121/posts/101302537382411

  29. What happened? How about "ignorance." Americans and other's remain ignorant, that's what is still happening today. Most cow farmers will do anything they can to save money in order to make their profits grow. One of the insane things they STILL DO TODAY is feed dead cow parts to their own cattle especially fed to the pregnant cows and infants. Foreign cow farmers do this even more so while they gladly shipped infected meat into hungry American mouths of children and the rest of America. *Unless you personally know and often visit the cow farmers and slaughterhouses and others involved in feeding/raising and processing of cow meat and other meat then it's a sure bet that you've already consumed infected cow meat, pork meat, chicken meat etc. that has one or more versions of this horribly devastating disease.
    *Stop being sheeppeople, do your own research, read between the lines, use your head before it becomes this disease.

    .

  30. My mom never let me eat burgers because i was going to get “mad cow disease” turns out she just didn’t want me to get fat as a kid and lied to me 🙄😂😂

  31. You can incubate the disease if you have 2 M M Gene's you will incubate it for 20 years basically meaning you have 20 year to live half
    It if you have M and v Gene's and 5 years if you have 2 V V genes

  32. People who lived in the UK from 1980 through to 1996 are not allowed to donate blood in foreign countries because the disease may still lay dormant in them.

  33. Now we're all scared about zombie deer. Its gonna be the same. We fear a zombie apocalypse, we get scared, spread rumors, and it's fine.

  34. 3:49 …and then, in 2018, a new isolated case of BSE popped up in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-45901043

  35. It's still out there, you just don't hear about it since Hillary Clinton showed signs of it because she's an important person and, important persons don't get diseases, you know that?!

  36. So the take away is turning cows into cannibals makes them crazy. What if your McDonald's burger had bits and pieces of people in them. Wouldn't that make you crazy. After doing that stupid thing they analyzed it to death coming up with fancy names for 'IT"S STUPID'.

  37. I wonder if why Mad Cow “disappeared” was that they realized the human version was Alzheimer’s. Nobody’s going to want to hear “if you ate a rare steak between 1990 and 1995, you have a (pick you poison)% chance of getting Alzheimer’s.” And I can’t find any good peer reviewed studies where people have done longitudinal research on vegetarians and vegans to see if their rates are lower.

  38. Actually there was a case of mad cow in Aberdeenshire in either 2016 or 2018 but luckily in improvements and in farming and food hygiene the infected cow did not enter the food chain because the cow was culled aka put down

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  40. You failed to note that Mad Cow disease is nearly identical to a disease which has been observed in cannibals who ate human spines and brain tissue. Basically it comes down to eating what you are isn't the best of ideas sometimes.

  41. I remember the outbreak in the 90s and the pictures of it. Pics of whole herds of cows being burnt because they were infected. People lost their livelihoods.

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