New Neurological Disease Discovered, Transmissible via Surgical Instruments

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prion protein structure

Much like a virus, scientists discovered a new prion, or mutated protein, that spreads through the brain causing neurological degeneration. This prion, which produces Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), causes tremors, much like Parkinson’s, but destroys brain matter at a more rapid rate. Fortunately, prions of this nature are rare, typically seen in cannibalistic cultures that ingest human brain tissue. Yet, scientists are concerned that MSA, and diseases like it (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc.), can be transferred from one infected individual to another during surgical procedures. Because proteins sticks tightly to stainless steel, it is possible for surgeons to spread the prion from one brain surgery patient to another even if the surgical equipment is properly cleaned.

Learn more about the study and its findings.

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