Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wary of the Prions

Dr Desert Flower used to be (and still is at heart, somewhat deep down inside) a brain researcher. She worked in a lab that had lots of brain tissue, and was very cautious around them in case they had prions in them. Science doesn't know exactly how prions work, but we know they CAN do really nasty things, like appearing en-masse in subjects with creutzfeldt-jakob disease, and contributing to heart disease, and wreaking molecular level havoc through advanced life forms. Recently, Sciencedaily published a report of how what have been perceived as "lifeless prions" have been seen to evolve. My very lovely and extremely intelligent wife knows far more about brain function, brain biology, and brain disorders than I will probably ever learn, and she has a healthy respect for and acts with complete caution around prions.

When I shared with her the love of eating brains that some of my friends have expressed to me in the last year, she gets a look of dread upon her beautiful visage, as she knows these friends too, and doesn't want bad things to happen to them. Prions can't be denatured by cooking at elevated temperatures. They laugh at heat, at most forms of oxidation. They are persistent little buggers, easily aerosolized, able to live without nourishment or a warm wet environment for long periods of time... very robust little bits of protein, that have been known to do some nasty things to humans, cows, and other large mammals.

So I'm gonna trust my dear wife's wariness of prions, and their sources in the food chain and the environment around us. Brains, industrialized mass produced food laced with animal parts, poor laboratory protocols and loose SOPs... I'm gonna avoid those. For my friends who enjoy eating brains (and who are not yet zombies) I am glad they know their butcher, or sushi chef, or other supplier of organ tissue as food... and I hope they avoid the stray prions as well.


  1. mmm.... brains

    what's the mileage like for the new Prion? Toyota's done pretty well marketing that thing.

  2. I think it cut's the average 2.5B cycles by about 1/2, for most consumers. Actual results may vary. =)


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