Fertility Drugs Increases Risk Of Creutzfeldt-Jakob, A Form Of Mad Cow Disease
A new study has found one of the most common drugs
used as part of the IVF process could lead to higher rate of
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in women, a disease that is sometimes referred
to as a variant of Mad Cow Disease.
Every year over 300,000 US and Canadian women are
prescribed drugs to stimulate the ovaries to increasing the production
eggs during a woman’s fertility cycle.
In the United States a reported 2 million couples are
infertile according to ‘American Pregnancy’. There is no doubt that
for any couple after waiting, sometimes years to get pregnant, when they
hear the news that either she or he has a fertility problem it can be
With that desperate desire to have a baby many couples will do anything. Sometimes it seems that is almost what is required.
There is no comfortable fertility treatment,
particularly for women, it’s invasive, can affect your health yet the
end product is worth it.
In conceiving through IVF about 75% of the 300,000 each year women are injected with a hormone derived from urine.
It’s a system that relies on donations, all of which
is screened to identify Prions . These are the infectious agent that
over time may eat away at the brain. Over time as the disease
progresses the brain, under a microscope ends up looking like a sponge.
While Prions are normally found in the body, it’s when
they transform, or coil that they become potentially dangerous to the
Creutzfeldt-Jakob is a debilitating disease that
causes the brain function to deteriorate, similar to the symptoms of
someone with dementia.
Currently it’s known that for people aged between 60 and 70 years old the disease will affect around 1 in 10,000.
In making the fertility drug urine is donated, mainly
for women, mainly older women who are at risk of carrying higher levels
of prion that will trigger the development of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
The study lead by Dr. Neil Cashman, University of
British Columbia, published this week in the Public Library of Science
(PLoS) ONE found that given the age of the women donating urine the risk
is increased of transferring prions in their misfolded form that could
be transferred during the IVF treatment.
While it is too early to tell the long term impact of women being
injected with urine based fertility drugs, the Canadian team has left
open the possibility the need to review their use, and explore
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