Transcript: Poultry and Paralysis
There is one neurological condition definitively caused by an infectious agent in poultry, Guillaine Barre syndrome. Also known as acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, it’s a brutally rapid, life-threatening auto-immune attack on your nervous system. It’s like MS in fast-forward, where instead of taking years, you can end up paralyzed on a ventilator in a matter of days. Why would our immune system do such a thing?
It didn’t mean to; it had the best of intentions. There is a neuropathic strain of a fecal bacteria called Campylobacter contaminating the U.S. chicken supply. If you get exposed and infected, 999 times out of a thousand you just get sick, food poisoning. No problem, your immune system wipes out the invaders, and in a couple days you’re as good as new. But in one in a thousand cases, our immune system makes an honest mistake.
This is what your nerve cells look like on the outside, molecularly; this is what Campylobacter looks like on the outside. Your immune system detects the bacteria, rides in guns ablazin’, take no prisoners, and your nerves end up a victim of friendly fire.
Your first symptom is what’s called ascending paralysis. Weakness starts in the hands and feet and works its way up. In many cases it happens within hours, within days you can’t walk, then you can’t swallow, then you can’t breathe. In which case you’re dead--unless you can get to an ICU with a mechanical ventilator in which case, after about two weeks something amazing happens. Your immune system steps back from the fight, surveys the damage, and says uh oh. And it stops and you come back to life. Now sometimes it’s too late and you end up with severe lifelong disability, or you don’t make it that far— kills people even in the best ICU's in the world.
The bottom line is that now that polio is largely a thing of the past, the most common cause of acute paralysis in the United States is, ultimately, chicken consumption.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.
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