Skip to Content

How Know Mad Cow?

One factor contributing to the spread of mad cow disease is the lack of an effective way to detect the malady’s presence before infected animals begin showing symptoms. Currently, the only reliable way to confirm a diagnosis is with a brain biopsy or autopsy.

Michael Clinton and colleagues at the Roslin Institute in Scotland have found a clue that could yield a simple blood test. Clinton discovered that the level of a protein called erythroid differentiation-related factor was dramatically lower in blood from infected sheep and bone marrow from infected cattle. But it could still be awhile before a commercial blood test is generated. The researchers are trying to confirm their initial findings in a large set of animals as well as in humans. If all goes well, they expect to begin developing a diagnostic test.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

AGI is just chatter for now concept
AGI is just chatter for now concept

The hype around DeepMind’s new AI model misses what’s actually cool about it

Some worry that the chatter about these tools is doing the whole field a disservice.

Workers disinfect the street outside Shijiazhuang Railway Station
Workers disinfect the street outside Shijiazhuang Railway Station

Why China is still obsessed with disinfecting everything

Most public health bodies dealing with covid have long since moved on from the idea of surface transmission. China’s didn’t—and that helps it control the narrative about the disease’s origins and danger.

Europe's AI Act concept
Europe's AI Act concept

A quick guide to the most important AI law you’ve never heard of

The European Union is planning new legislation aimed at curbing the worst harms associated with artificial intelligence.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.