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10 scary facts about the mysterious deadly prion diseases

Diseases are a natural side effect of living in a competitive place like Earth. Most diseases can be classified according to the pathogen through which they are transmitted, although not all require the spread of an external organism.

SEE ALSO: The 10 Most Exciting Diseases That You Can Smell

Although we now understand the nature of most diseases, there are still many for whom we have no definitive remedies. Then there are the diseases that have nothing to do with anything that amaze even the best of our researchers. A typical example; Prion diseases.

Prions do not like any other disease we know, mainly because they are not a disease at all. Prions are a type of protein that occurs in the body and, for whatever reason, gets out of shape and has the ability to fold other proteins of the same type through contact.

That may sound harmless, but this trait gives way to one of the most mysterious and deadly disturbances we know.

We Do not Know Why Prions Are There (or What They Are) [19659007] Prions are animal tissue proteins found in many parts of the body, especially in the brain, spinal cord, and eyes. They are not dangerous in themselves and can even serve a specific purpose in the body, though they tend to become rogues.

You see, prions tend to just change their shape and become contagious. This means that they can transfer their misfolded pattern to other proteins, causing them to do the same and spread out. Depending on the type of misfolding, there can be a number of serious illnesses such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

Interestingly enough, we still do not know why prions exist at all, because they do not seem to make a difference in the body, even though the diseases they cause can be debilitating. Some studies suggest that they may play a role in nerve function. [1]

9 They are ridiculously hard to kill

Dealing with pathogens-related diseases is just a matter of approach to kill or stop the external organism that causes it. While we are still finding out how we can do this for some stronger species, we mostly have the means to eradicate most diseases with the old school "kill all" method.

Unfortunately, the prions are too advanced to be killed according to our usual methods. There have been many cases of people who have contracted a prion disease by simply coming into contact with infected hospital equipment. The usual disinfection methods for killing bacteria and viruses – such as radiation and heat – only work with prions. They are reported to survive temperatures of 121 degrees Celsius, which is more than enough to kill most of the pathogens we know. [2]

8 They do not even live

Prions are particularly deadly because of the speed with which they can infect other proteins. All diseases caused by prions are serious and disabling conditions. The most common is Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD), which can lead to disability and rapid death within a year. Fortunately, most cases are reported around the age of 60, and the disease itself is quite rare.

Despite all the damage they can do, prions do not seem to have the properties of other pathogens. First, they have no genetic material such as DNA or RNA and no significant body parts. More importantly, they are not even alive. They are essentially deformed proteins and not separate organisms, which makes them potentially more dangerous because they are not scared to death. [3]

7 Their use in warfare

Biological weapons have long been used in warfare. and there are still a worrying number of cases in which they are used in conflicts around the world. They are also surprisingly easy to find in conflict areas and become accessible to violent militant groups and rogue states. Even a small bio-attack in a densely populated region could destroy the population both physically and mentally.

Most of our known bio-weapons are made up of deadly bacterial or viral strains, but due to advanced medicine and In many First World countries, we can better combat such attacks by using quarantine mechanisms.

This is where prions come into play. Since it is not by definition a pathogen, bioweapons designed with prions are hard to detect or contain. Prion diseases are highly contagious and cause blindingly rapid neurodegenerative disorders that can be fatal, for example, in the hands of a terrorist group. [4]

6 A very different category of disease

When discovered for the first time, prions made no sense to anyone. It would take years for them to be recognized as a kind of disease, although we still do not know what their nature is because of their particularity.

Prion diseases are not one of the diseases that we know in any field of medicine. They are primarily caused by an excess of poorly or misfolded proteins in organs such as the brain and cause a variety of rare diseases like no other medical-known disorder. Many other baffling diseases that we've never really been able to explain – like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's – are now also associated with prions. [5]

5 We do not know how many species there are

Because of Being In rare cases, prion diseases are under-studied. Increasing recent research has provided some insight into the mysterious diseases, though we still do not fully understand the underlying mechanisms that cause them. Not only that, we are not aware of all sorts of prions.

It has recently been discovered that many diseases previously associated with something else were caused by prions, as our definition of what prions are consistently expanded. We still have little idea of ​​all their existing varieties because even those we know are still not understood properly. [6]

4 The copper compound

Prion diseases spread at an alarming rate in the body. Death usually occurs within months – sometimes even years – of a contract, and we know little about the underlying causes. We do not know how proteins actually cause misfolding, and it is difficult to find answers to this question because the disease is so rare.

According to recent research, we may have found at least one offender. Copper. Researchers at Iowa State University have found that copper ions in the body cause prions already in the brain, spinal cord, etc. to fold. It has long been assumed that exposure to copper is associated with prions, and this was the first time that this has been demonstrated in the laboratory. [7]

3 The Conspiracy Theories

Prions are not comparable to other diseases (or anything else we know) in many ways, which is why some scientists call them the "craziest living molecules of all time". They do not live, have genetic material to be their own species, and are – apparently – at the center of some conspiracy theories.

While the absurdity of the theory depends on what part of the internet you are in, some of them may as well be true. Some theorists believe that the government is considering prions for much of their experimental research, as they have numerous applications in warfare. They are also becoming increasingly popular in the subcultures of the zombie apocalypse, as prion diseases directly affect the brain and could theoretically be used to turn humans into zombies. [8]

2 At that time it spread through cannibalism

Cannibalism was as popular in Papua New Guinea as the regular food in other places. Residents largely agree that cannibalism is one thing their ancestors did earlier, and it's totally cool of them. Although we doubt that a cannibal strain in Papua New Guinea survives to this day, it is a well-known fact that until recently this was the case.

Cannibalism has caused its part of the health problems – as it is for a reason reasonably forbidden – residents of Papua New Guinea. Take the Fore strain as an example. When researchers examined it in the 1950s, they found that every year about 200 tribesmen died of a mysterious disease. Symptoms included walking problems, loss of body control, and death.

The researchers at that time could not guess the roots of the disease, although, as we later discovered, this was due to prions. It spread through cannibalism, which was so common that children had body parts as snacks. [9]

1 There is still no cure

After all we know about prion diseases, they sound like terrible disturbances. Most of them are degenerative and affect brain function, leading to death in all cases. The worst part? We can not prevent a prion disease from killing you at some point.

Even though these diseases are rare, those who have them have no choice but to go through all the stages. Some medications can delay the symptoms, and the main treatment is to give the patient more comfort than anything else. In addition, all prion diseases are deadly, although the fact that you or someone you know is unlikely to happen is a comfort. cracked.com/members/RudeRidingRomeo/) and Screen Rant (https://screenrant.com/author/hshar/) or contact him to write gigs ([email protected]).

Himanshu Sharma

Himanshu has written for websites such as Cracked, Screen Rant, The Gamer and Forbes. You could find him crying out strangers' obscenities on Twitter or trying out amateur art on Instagram.

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