In his new book, FATAL FLAWS: How a Misfolded Protein Baffles Scientists and Changed the Way We Look at The Brain (publication date: May 26), Discovery Science's Jay Ingram traces the heretical idea that humans and animals can pass on infections without the agency of genetic material. Prions, a kind of malformed protein, are much more basic than even a simple virus, and can infect and disrupt our biology at its foundations.
Jay Ingram on His New Book, "Fatal Flaws"
Thanks to the discovery of kuru, a disease unique to New Guinea that baffled scientists and carried whispers of cannibalism, and more recently Mad Cow Disease, scientists have been able to study the prion. Prions tell us amazing things about the brain and about basic biology that has shaken the foundations of that science, just as Einstein shook the foundations of physics. Not surprisingly, there are dramatic stories of scientists taking credit for recent discoveries, of others dismissing it altogether, and of governments trying to hide the truth.
As the book reveals, stunning new inroads are made on the understanding of diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and ALS. Although there is still a lot of mystery surrounding prions, their continued study might lead to cures for these devastating diseases.
Find out more about Jay Ingram's new book FATAL FLAWS and watch a web-exclusive interview. Hear about an emerging infectious prion disease threatening wildlife in Western Canada.
For more information about Fatal Flaws: How a Misfolded Protein Baffled Scientists and Changed the Way We Look at the Brain, head to http://www.jayingram.ca/books/fatal-flaws.html