Poultry Exposure & Neurological Disease

Poultry Exposure & Neurological Disease
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Poultry workers exhibit an excess of a wide range of diseases, from thyroid conditions to schizophrenia, and autoimmune neurological disorders, such as myasthenia gravis. This may be due to exposure to viruses present in chickens and turkeys.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

More cancer mortality associated with poultry exposure. What about non-cancer mortality?

“The root cause of many chronic diseases in humans is [after all] still unknown. Chickens and turkeys destined for human consumption and their products are infected with a plethora of transmissible agents that cause a variety of diseases in the animals, including cancer, diseases of the nervous system, cardiovascular diseases, kidney diseases, etc.”

That’s in the animals, but they “are a potential source of infection for humans. Humans can be infected by direct contact with live or killed birds, their blood and secretions [the so-called ‘chicken juice’ in the package of raw meat], consumption of raw or inadequately cooked poultry meat, or other products, such as eggs and vaccinations…”

“We already have serologic evidence [testing for antibodies] that humans are commonly infected with avian leukosis/sarcoma viruses, reticuloendotheliosis viruses and Marek’s disease virus, that cause a wide variety of cancers, neurologic, and other diseases in chickens and turkeys…The question therefore arises as to whether these agents also cause similar diseases in humans—especially those human diseases whose [cause] is currently undetermined.”

They figured, look, if it’s going to affect anyone, it would be the poultry workers first. And indeed, they found that compared to the control group, “an excess of deaths was observed for disorders of the thyroid gland, senile and pre-senile psychotic conditions [like schizophrenia], anterior horn cell disease [which is a degenerative spinal cord condition], myasthenia gravis [an autoimmune nerve disease], hypertension, heart disease, diseases of the esophagus, peritonitis [which is inflammation of the abdominal lining], and other diseases of the kidney…” They conclude that this apparent “excess occurrence of disease affecting several organs and systems, [is] probably originating from widespread infection with a variety of microorganisms.”

So, this notion that “the present findings may perhaps be providing the first clues that cases of some of the neurologic diseases that occur in the general population may owe their origin to the presence of transmissible agents present in animals and animal products used for food, such as poultry, is plausible…”

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Image thanks to Julia Manzerova via flickr

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

More cancer mortality associated with poultry exposure. What about non-cancer mortality?

“The root cause of many chronic diseases in humans is [after all] still unknown. Chickens and turkeys destined for human consumption and their products are infected with a plethora of transmissible agents that cause a variety of diseases in the animals, including cancer, diseases of the nervous system, cardiovascular diseases, kidney diseases, etc.”

That’s in the animals, but they “are a potential source of infection for humans. Humans can be infected by direct contact with live or killed birds, their blood and secretions [the so-called ‘chicken juice’ in the package of raw meat], consumption of raw or inadequately cooked poultry meat, or other products, such as eggs and vaccinations…”

“We already have serologic evidence [testing for antibodies] that humans are commonly infected with avian leukosis/sarcoma viruses, reticuloendotheliosis viruses and Marek’s disease virus, that cause a wide variety of cancers, neurologic, and other diseases in chickens and turkeys…The question therefore arises as to whether these agents also cause similar diseases in humans—especially those human diseases whose [cause] is currently undetermined.”

They figured, look, if it’s going to affect anyone, it would be the poultry workers first. And indeed, they found that compared to the control group, “an excess of deaths was observed for disorders of the thyroid gland, senile and pre-senile psychotic conditions [like schizophrenia], anterior horn cell disease [which is a degenerative spinal cord condition], myasthenia gravis [an autoimmune nerve disease], hypertension, heart disease, diseases of the esophagus, peritonitis [which is inflammation of the abdominal lining], and other diseases of the kidney…” They conclude that this apparent “excess occurrence of disease affecting several organs and systems, [is] probably originating from widespread infection with a variety of microorganisms.”

So, this notion that “the present findings may perhaps be providing the first clues that cases of some of the neurologic diseases that occur in the general population may owe their origin to the presence of transmissible agents present in animals and animal products used for food, such as poultry, is plausible…”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to Julia Manzerova via flickr

Doctor's Note

For the cancer mortality studies I refer to at the beginning, see Chicken Dioxins, Viruses, or Antibiotics?Poultry & Penis Cancer; and Wart Cancer Viruses in Food. And for more on the viruses specifically mentioned, see Carcinogenic Retrovirus Found in Eggs. And if anyone’s thinking, “What about Guillain-Barré syndrome?”, stay tuned—Poultry & Paralysis is coming up next!

For more context, check out my associated blog post: Treating an Enlarged Prostate With Diet.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

17 responses to “Poultry Exposure & Neurological Disease

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  1. For the cancer mortality studies I refer to at the beginning, see Chicken Dioxins, Viruses, or Antibiotics, Poultry and Penis Cancer and Wart Cancer Viruses in Food. And for more on the viruses specifically mentioned, see yesterday’s video. And if anyone’s thinking, what about Guillain-Barré syndrome? Stay tuned—that’s tomorrow video! In the meantime, feel free to check out hundreds of other videos on more than a thousand subjects.




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  2. I wonder if there any studies about the morbidity of poultry industry workers. I tried to search and found just researches about their mortality.




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  3. I have switched to being vegetarian since 2 months. After watching your videos, and reading Campbell, Esselstyn, McDougall the switch was easy. However I have always loved starch – i.e. bread, pasta (all mostly whole wheat, rarely processed) and I literally feel my brain needs it. My issue is that I am schizophrenic due to various life events. I wanted to know is there latest research about the schizophrenia – gluten/starch connection and is there any special diet for schizophrenics? There are some studies on a ketogenic diet which show successes, but how can this be achieved with a plant based diet? ( http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/6/1/10 ) What diet would you recommend for mental illnesses in general? For example EPAs in Omega3?




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  4. Wow did you do a good job of barely mentioning the part about vaccines that are produced using eggs. Like the influenza vaccine perhaps? More commentary is definitely needed on this subject.




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  5. A person that i know got myasthenia gravis, I would like to know if diet could help the situation? Before the medication he felt pain in his body, vision trouble, can’t drive at night. with medication his vision is ok during the day, felt less pain his body, have hard time to swallow and can’t keep his eye lid open when sitting for relaxing. thank you




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    1. Great question, Frederic and Kay! First, for those not familiar with the condition, myasthenia gravis is a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease characterized by varying degrees of weakness of the skeletal (voluntary) muscles of the body. The hallmark of myasthenia gravis is muscle weakness that increases during periods of activity and improves after periods of rest. Certain muscles such as those that control eye and eyelid movement, facial expression, chewing, talking, and swallowing are often, but not always, involved in the disorder. The muscles that control breathing and neck and limb movements may also be affected. There are good medications for this condition and most people have a normal lifespan.

      In answer to your question, while I couldn’t find much research specifically on diet for myasthenia gravis, I know many people (including many who read this site) have had significant improvement in their autoimmune conditions by eating a WFPB diet. Dr. Greger has this video on animal proteins triggering autoimmune disease. This video discusses diet and autoimmune disease. Finally, if you google “myasthenia graves and vegan diet” there are lots of testimonials from people with the condition who feel better eating plant foods. While that isn’t research, it’s still powerful stuff!




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    2. As someone that has myasthenia gravis, Diet helps a lot. With a whole plant diet, no processed foods and taking extra good care of yourself- I have been able to keep it in remission for the most part. It does not cure it. Saying every time I am under stress my symptoms flare up.
      I have done a ton of research on myasthenia gravis & leaky gut (lots of autoimmune disorders stems from this). I suggest that your friend should do their research as well.
      I have heard of a lot of people going into remission from this lifestyle, but once they start feeling great and decide to start eating in there old habits the symptoms come back with vengeance and are a lot of the times worse than before.
      Good Luck to your friend!




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  6. Perhaps I missed this detail, but I’m curious if these viral exposures are also with live healthy chickens (for example at a no-kill farm sanctuary) or if it is always related to poultry farming? What about a a free range egg farm like Vitale? I ask because my children go to a school that is also a sustainable farm sanctuary and they play and care for chickens daily.




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