Study: Proteins causing mad cow disease serve a helpful purpose

02/14/2013 | Nature (free content)

Prions responsible for causing mad cow disease and similar versions, including the human form Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, may actually serve a role in helping brains to develop, according to a report in Journal of Neuroscience. Researchers discovered that prion proteins could be helpful or infectious depending on whether the protein was correctly formed. Normal prion proteins were fundamental in protecting nerves, while misfolded prion proteins cause the infectious diseases.

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