kuru

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prion

 [pri´on]
any of several pathogenic, transmissible forms of the core of prion protein that cause a group of degenerative diseases of the nervous system known as prion diseases. Prions have a structure different from that of normal prion protein, lack detectable nucleic acid, and do not elicit an immune response.
prion disease any of a group of fatal degenerative diseases of the nervous system caused by abnormalities in the metabolism of prion protein. These diseases are unique in that they may be transmitted genetically as an autosomal dominant trait, or by infection with abnormal forms of the protein (prions). Inherited forms result from mutations in the gene that codes for prion protein; such mutations may also occur sporadically. Hereditary forms include some forms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Gerstmann-Sträussler syndrome, and fatal familial insomnia. Infectious forms of the disease result from ingestion of infected tissue or the introduction of infected tissue into the body (kuru and some forms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease). The latter has occasionally occurred during surgical procedures; it has also occurred as the result of injection of human growth hormone prepared from infected pituitary glands. Prion diseases also occur in animals. Called also transmissible neurodegenerative disease and subacute spongiform or transmissible spongiform encephalopathy.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.

ku·ru

(kū'rū), [MIM*245300]
A progressive fatal spongiform encephalopathy characterized by ataxia, tremors, lack of coordination, and death. Pathologic lesions in the brain include neuronal loss, astrocytosis, and status spongiosus. Found only in the Fore people in the highlands of New Guinea and transmitted through ritual cannibalism. It was initially attributed to a "slow virus" now known to be caused by prions. See: prion.
[native dialect, to shiver from fear or cold]
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012

kuru

(ko͝or′o͞o)
n.
A fatal degenerative disease of the brain caused by a prion, formerly found among certain peoples of New Guinea and transmitted by the consumption of human flesh during mortuary rites.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
A subacute spongiform encephalopathy, caused by a prion which, in its heyday, killed 90% of women in the once cannibalistic Fore tribe of New Guinea—women were most affected as they prepared and ate infected brains
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.

ku·ru

(kū'rū)
A progressive, fatal form of spongiform encephalopathy, endemic in New Guinea and caused by prions. Transmission is believed to occur through ritual cannibalism.
See: prion
[native dialect, to shiver from fear or cold]
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012

kuru

A slow, fatal spongiform encephalopathy that appeared to be limited to natives of the highlands of Papua New Guinea among whom it was spread by the practice of eating the brains of dead relatives. The disease is caused by a PRION, apparently, transmitted through skin abrasions during the preparation of the meal. This explained why kuru affected the women only. The prion is resistant to most of the normal methods of sterilization. The condition features headache, aching joints and limbs, progressive inability to walk and, later, even to sit up, inability to speak and to swallow, sometimes DEMENTIA and eventual death. Research on the Fore tribe in Papua, published in 2006, suggests that the incubation period of vCJD, while averaging 12 years, could be as long as 50 years. See also CREUTZFELDT-JAKOB DISEASE and BOVINE SPONGIFORM ENCEPHALOPATHY.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005

Kuru,

New Guinean word meaning "trembling with fear."
Kuru disease - fatal neurologic disease which existed in Fore tribe in New Guinea, perpetuated by cannibalism until the practice was abolished.
Medical Eponyms © Farlex 2012