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Related to prion diseases: Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker syndrome
prion diseases[′Prī‚än di‚zēz·əz]
A group of invariably fatal disorders affecting humans and animals that are clinically characterized by neurological and behavioral degeneration caused by the cerebral accumulation of an abnormal prion protein which is resistant to proteolytic enzymes and, in contrast to other infectious agents, does not require nucleic acid for replication. The diseases are transmissible either genetically (for example, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease) or via infection (new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and mad cow disease) or can occur spontaneously (classical or sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease). Also known as spongiform encephalopathies.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.