Kuru
A slowly progressive fatal disease of the brain due to an infectious agent transmitted among people in Papua New Guinea by ritual cannibalism. Kuru is an infectious form of subacute spongiform encephalopathy. It was once thought to be due to a slow virus but is now believed to be caused by a tiny protein particle called a prion. It appears to be similar to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or "mad cow disease") and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The disease causes a gait disturbance (cerebellar ataxia), incoordination, trembling and shivering. In time, difficulty in swallowing and feeding oneself leads to malnutrition. Death supervenes within several years of the onset of the disease. Kuru is also called trembling disease (kuru means trembling). The discovery of kuru is one of the more interesting detective stories of 20th-century medicine. Dr. D. Carlton Gajdusek (1923-) first described the disease among the Fore people of New Guinea. It was known by them as kuru (meaning "trembling"). After years of living among the Fore people, Gajdusek came to the conclusion that the disease was transmitted in the ritualistic eating of the brains of the deceased, a Fore funeral custom. In 1976 Gajdusek shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for "discoveries concerning new mechanisms for the origin and dissemination of infectious diseases."
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A progressive, fatal form of spongiform encephalopathy endemic to Fore people in the highlands of New Guinea, initially attributed to a “slow virus” infection, but now known to be caused by prions. Transmission is believed to be effected by contamination and ingestion during ritual cannabalism. It is characterized by ataxia, tremors, lack of coordination and death; pathological lesions in the brain include neuronal loss, ostrocytosis and status spongiosus. See prion. [native dialect, to shiver from fear or cold]

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ku·ru 'ku̇(ə)r-(.)ü n a rare progressive fatal spongiform encephalopathy that is caused by a prion, resembles Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and has occurred among tribespeople in eastern New Guinea who engaged in a form of ritual cannibalism called also laughing death, laughing sickness

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n.
a disease that affects only members of the Fore tribe of New Guinea. It involves a progressive degeneration of the nerve cells of the central nervous system, particularly in the region of the brain that controls movement. Muscular control becomes defective and shiver-like tremors occur in the trunk, limbs, and head. Kuru affects mainly women and children and usually proves fatal within 9-12 months. It is thought to be caused by a prion and transmitted by cannibalism. See also spongiform encephalopathy.

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ku·ru (kooґroo) [“shivering” in language of the Fore people of New Guinea] an infectious form of prion disease with a long incubation period, found only among the Fore and neighboring peoples of New Guinea and thought to be associated with ritual cannibalism. It is manifested by truncal and limb ataxia, a shivering-like tremor, and dysarthria and ends invariably in death; strabismus and extrapyramidal symptoms may also be found. Amyloid plaques are present in about two thirds of affected individuals.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Kuru — puede referirse: Kuru (enfermedad), un tipo de encefalopatía transmisible relacionada con prácticas funerales caníbales del pueblo fore, en Nueva Guinea. Kuru (clan), grupo étnico en la antigua India, y también un reino mítico basado en los kurus …   Wikipedia Español

  • KURU — En 1957, un médecin américain, Vincent Zigas, officier de santé en Nouvelle Guinée, signalait une curieuse maladie neurologique qui décimait une tribu locale, et que les indigènes appelaient kuru . La chance voulut que Carleton Gajdusek,… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Kuru — or Kurus may be: * Kuru (kingdom), a powerful Indian kingdom during the Vedic period and later a republic during the Mahajanapada period ** Kuru Kingdom, a kingdom based on the historic Kuru kingdom in Indian epic literature * Kuru (disease), a… …   Wikipedia

  • Kuru — bezeichnet: eine Krankheit, Kuru (Krankheit) eine Gemeinde in Finnland, Kuru (Finnland) einen Vorort von Konstantinopel, Kuruçeşme einen Ort in Estland der Gemeinde Tapa, Kuru (Estland) eine Währung Namens Kurus, siehe Türkische Lira einen… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • kuru — Enfermedad crónica progresiva del sistema nervioso central descubierta entre los nativos de Nueva Guinea que practicaban ritos caníbales. Se caracteriza por presentar un síndrome cerebeloso y demencial. Se cree que es una enfermedad producida por …   Diccionario médico

  • kurū — kurū̃ interj. apie ugnies kūrimą: Kurū̃ kurū̃ pečiuką, kepsma vaikam blyniukų Dkk …   Dictionary of the Lithuanian Language

  • Kuru — (ind. Gesch.), s.u. Kurus …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • kuru — kȕru m <G ua> DEFINICIJA pat. virusna bolest centralnog živčevlja u domorodaca na Novoj Gvineji; prenosi se ritualnim kanibalizmom ETIMOLOGIJA engl. ≃ egz …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • kuru — /ˈkuru/ (say koohrooh) noun a fatal degenerative disease related to Creutzfeldt Jakob disease, characterised by loss of coordination and dementia, known mainly among the Fore people of Papua New Guinea; caused by their cannibalistic funeral… …   Australian English dictionary

  • kuru- — *kuru , *kuruz germ.?, Adjektiv: nhd. schwer; ne. heavy; Rekontruktionsbasis: got.; Etymologie: s. ing. *gʷer (2), *gʷerə , *gʷerəu , Adjektiv, schwer, Pokorny 476; …   Germanisches Wörterbuch

  • kuru — [ko͞o′ro͞o΄] n. [< native name in New Guinea] a degenerative disease of the central nervous system, found among certain aborigines of the eastern highlands of New Guinea …   English World dictionary

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