Biochemistry of BSE

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Neurodegenerative disease in cattle that causes the brain and spinal cord to degenerate into a spongy substance (much like Huntington's disease in humans). It is most commonly referred to as mad cow disease and it can be transmitted to humans who may eat the meat of an infected cow. The onset of the disease occurs as a result of abnormal protein folding. These abnormally folded proteins are called prions. Proteins are molecules which are made up of chains of amino acids. Proteins perform numerous functions within the body. Histidine is an amino acid which plays a role in BSE. 

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