Dying for a Hamburger: Modern Meat Processing and the Epidemic of Alzheimer's Disease

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9780312340155: Dying for a Hamburger: Modern Meat Processing and the Epidemic of Alzheimer's Disease

One in ten people older than sixty-five, and nearly half of those older than eighty-five, have Alzheimer's disease. It's widely accepted nowadays that memory loss comes with age. Alzheimer's currently robs at least 15 million people of their identity worldwide. This book makes the controversial claim that eating meat may contribute to the development of the disease. In Dying for a Hamburger, Dr. Murray Waldman and Marjorie Lamb draw upon documentary evidence, historical testimony, and inspired speculation to suggest that Alzheimer's: - is a new disease--elderly people did not experience symptoms of dementia in such alarming numbers in the past- began appearing after modern meat production techniques were introduced- has soared in nations where these techniques are used- hardly exists in cultures where meat consumption is low- has been attributed to many deaths that are actually the human equivalent of mad cow disease. They present startling evidence that Alzheimer's may be part of a family of diseases linked to malformed proteins known as prions. They hypothesize that the conditions that allow these brain disorders to be triggered are similar. They propose that mad cow, its human equivalent, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), other encephalitic diseases, and Alzheimer's may have a common antecedent. We know that a form of CJD is transmitted to humans who eat contaminated beef. And we are becoming increasingly aware of the need to monitor the meat supply closely to avoid a repetition of the mad cow scare in Great Britain. But suppose that Alzheimer's also involves prions--the evidence that points in this direction is growing. And suppose that Alzheimer's is also associated with tainted meat. This conclusion seems far-fetched--at first. In this compelling book, the authors come to a frightening conclusion about our seemingly insatiable hunger for hamburgers. Destined to provoke heated argument, this book is definitely food for thought.

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From the Inside Flap:

Bubonic plague, Black Death, AIDS? and Alzheimer?s? One in ten people over 65, and nearly half of those over 85, have Alzheimer?s disease. Today, we simply accept the idea that old people lose their minds as a matter of course. But this is a new phenomenon: Up until a hundred years ago, old age was associated with wisdom, not memory-loss, and dementia was known, if at all, as a side-effect of syphilis. Alzheimer?s seems to have appeared out of nowhere in the early years of the twentieth century and now at least 15 million people worldwide are its victims. It?s a horrible disease because it robs people of their identity before it robs them of life. It is incurable and fatal.

In Dying for a Hamburger, Dr. Murray Waldman, in collaboration with writer Marjorie Lamb, sets out to show that Alzheimer?s is, indeed, a deadly modern plague. They present startling evidence that Alzheimer?s is one of a family of diseases caused by a malformed protein ? or prion ? that also causes mad cow disease and its human variant, Cruetzfeld-Jakob disease (CJD). Could Alzheimer?s, like CJD, be caused by tainted beef? In this compelling exposition, the authors come to a frightening conclusion about our seemingly insatiable hunger for hamburger.

About the Author:

Murray Waldman, M.D., is a coroner for the City of Toronto and on staff at the University of Toronto. He has been chief of one of Canada's busiest emergency departments, medical director and chief of staff of a large rehabilitation hospital, and medical director of several major corporations. Dr. Waldman has published articles in the Toronto Star and many medical journals, and has lectured at both national and international meetings. He lives in Toronto. Marjorie Lamb is a writer, broadcaster, and author of several books, including the bestselling Two Minutes a Day for a Greener Planet. She wrote and performed "Environmental Minute" for CBC Television, and hosted the award-winning environmental television series Your Green Home. She lives in Toronto.

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