Irradiated food causes neurological damage in cats – and humans?

In a study published in the March Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison reported that some cats fed a diet of irradiated food for three to four months developed movement disorders, vision loss and paralysis. This came about, apparently, as a result of severe and widely distributed demyelination of the central nervous system although the exact cause of the neurological affliction was unknown. (Myelin is a fatty insulator of nerve fibres that degrades in a host of human central nervous system disorders, such as multiple sclerosis.)

While the neurological symptoms exhibited by the cats are similar to those experienced by humans with demyelination disorders, the malady does not seem to be like any of the known myelin-related diseases of humans.

In cats removed from the diet, demyelinated axons slowly became remyelinated, but the restored myelin sheaths were still not as thick as healthy myelin.

Ian Duncan, the UW-Madison neuroscientist who led the research commented that it is extremely unlikely that irradiated food could become a human health problem. The abstract of the study

This report was first seen on the Dr Mercola site where Dr Mercola commented – with some justification:
‘Amazingly, the researchers behind this startling finding that cats fed irradiated food developed “severe neurological disease” only reported it as an afterthought. They instead chose to focus on the fact that the cats were able to recover from the disease after their diet returned to normal – a testament to the healing powers of your body, yes, but completely overlooking what caused the damage in the first place.’

First published in June 2009

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