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The Trembling Mountain: A Personal Account of Kuru, Cannibals, and Mad Cow Disease

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Kuru, like Mad Cow disease, is caused by a rare, infectious crystal protein that invades and colonizes human cells, destroying the nervous system of its victims. There is no known cure. It flourished in one of the remotest places on earth, Papua New Guinea, among the Fore, a people living in the Stone Age, who until recently practiced ritual cannibalism, consuming the brai Kuru, like Mad Cow disease, is caused by a rare, infectious crystal protein that invades and colonizes human cells, destroying the nervous system of its victims. There is no known cure. It flourished in one of the remotest places on earth, Papua New Guinea, among the Fore, a people living in the Stone Age, who until recently practiced ritual cannibalism, consuming the brains of their forebears during funerary feasts. Robert Klitzman helped establish the links between these rituals and kuru. What he discovered has provided keys to understanding the mysterious Mad Cow Disease, which may become the world's next major epidemic. Robert Klitzman was 21 years old when he was invited by the Nobel prize-winning scientist Dr. Carleton Gajdusek, then at the National Institutes of Health, to conduct original research on kuru. Seizing the chance to travel to the other end of the world, Klitzman embarked on an adventure that would change his life.    


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Kuru, like Mad Cow disease, is caused by a rare, infectious crystal protein that invades and colonizes human cells, destroying the nervous system of its victims. There is no known cure. It flourished in one of the remotest places on earth, Papua New Guinea, among the Fore, a people living in the Stone Age, who until recently practiced ritual cannibalism, consuming the brai Kuru, like Mad Cow disease, is caused by a rare, infectious crystal protein that invades and colonizes human cells, destroying the nervous system of its victims. There is no known cure. It flourished in one of the remotest places on earth, Papua New Guinea, among the Fore, a people living in the Stone Age, who until recently practiced ritual cannibalism, consuming the brains of their forebears during funerary feasts. Robert Klitzman helped establish the links between these rituals and kuru. What he discovered has provided keys to understanding the mysterious Mad Cow Disease, which may become the world's next major epidemic. Robert Klitzman was 21 years old when he was invited by the Nobel prize-winning scientist Dr. Carleton Gajdusek, then at the National Institutes of Health, to conduct original research on kuru. Seizing the chance to travel to the other end of the world, Klitzman embarked on an adventure that would change his life.    

30 review for The Trembling Mountain: A Personal Account of Kuru, Cannibals, and Mad Cow Disease

  1. 4 out of 5

    David

    A very interesting read. Now I want to know if the influx of Parkinson's and other tremor and dementia related diseases are possibly at times misdiagnosed. Thinking to the time I was a manager for McDonald's eating up to 35 hamburgers a week, wondering if somehow, sometime I could get mad cow. I recommend this read.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Seacalliope

    Very interesting account of how difficult it can be to conduct research, although lighter on science than I wish. I also found it disquieting the way he minimized the crimes of one of the scientists widely cited in prion research, Gajdusek. It's a little hard to be entirely interested in an author's personal tribulations when they excuse a child molester.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    I read this book when I was going through my phase of fascination with mad cow disease and its associated prion diseases. I didn't, and still don't understand half of the science that goes on, but am both horrified and intrigued by the different forms and their impact on humans (perhaps similar to the way that people are fascinated by zombies).

  4. 4 out of 5

    Gudi

    Really, I dont know exactly what to say about this book, other then you learn a whole helluva a lot about different cultures and just how long something can live in the ground waiting for a host body.

  5. 5 out of 5

    LOL_BOOKS

    I RLY ENJOYED THE PRION DISEASE/CANNIBALISM TRIFECTA OF THE FAMILY THAT COULDN'T SLEEP, SAVAGE HARVEST, AND THE TREMBLING MOUNTAIN.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Heizelman

    This is a great read about the culture in which cannabilism arose.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Felicia

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sean Elliott Hitrec

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Seidemann

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jce

  11. 5 out of 5

    Helen

  12. 4 out of 5

    Holly

  13. 4 out of 5

    Cristobal

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jen*

  15. 5 out of 5

    Leslie Ng

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kim

  18. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ali

  20. 4 out of 5

    Terri

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kartika

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nubia

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tim

  24. 4 out of 5

    Regina

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gina

  26. 4 out of 5

    Alex

  27. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

  28. 5 out of 5

    Joaquim Proenca

  29. 4 out of 5

    Becca

  30. 5 out of 5

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