Prions responsible for causing bovine spongiform encephalopathy and similar diseases, including Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, which infects humans, 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 prions were fundamental in protecting nerves, while misfolded prions caused the infectious diseases.

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