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Re: Govt has right to block testing for mad cow disease, court rules
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Mon, 1 Sep 2008 18:10:03 -0400

Begin forwarded message:

From: "Steven J. Davidson" <davidson () pobox com>
Date: September 1, 2008 3:55:36 PM EDT
To: <dave () farber net>
Subject: RE: [IP] Re: Govt has right to block testing for mad cow disease, court rules

Jerry’s argument is precisely why the medical profession ignores Bayes Theorem, ignoring what Valdis Kletnieks calls, “base rate fallacy" and testing everything in sight and then further testing all of the false positives— though its people rather than cows. No federal agency to prevent we physicians from doing so and the plaintiffs’ attorneys seeking any occasion when applying professional judgment eventuated in a bad result spurring us on.

So for now we’ll test until the money runs out as we’re doing in medicine—perhaps we should as well for beef? Or subscribe to Michael Pollan’s recommendations.

Excuse me, it’s time to fire up the grill for my grass-fed free range steak from the farmer I spoke to face-to-face last Tuesday evening.

Regards to you and your list./Steve
Steven J. Davidson, MD, MBA, Chair, Emerg. Med. | Maimonides Med. Ctr.
4802 Tenth Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11219 | 718.283.6030/6042 voice/fax

From: David Farber [mailto:dave () farber net]
Sent: Monday, September 01, 2008 15:09
To: ip
Subject: [IP] Re: Govt has right to block testing for mad cow disease, court rules

Begin forwarded message:

From: EEkid () aol com
Date: September 1, 2008 12:31:00 PM EDT
To: dave () farber net, Valdis.Kletnieks () vt edu
Subject: Re: [IP] Re: Govt has right to block testing for mad cow disease, court rules

Valdis.Kletnieks-"As a result, the testing *would* create a false sense of security."

As opposed to no knowledge? Is ignorance bliss in a situation where a fatal disease exists?

While there may not be inexpensive, easy to use tests currently on the market, there are patents for tests which detect piron disease before symptoms appear. These tests need to be commercially developed.

Having a court ban testing is a huge mistake which will suppress destroy the future development of such friendly tests. Why develop a product which can't be commercially used?

Valdis.Kletnieks-"if you're testing for an fairly rare event with a test that has a noticeable false-
positive rate,"

Without comprehensive testing, there is no way to know just how wide spread the problem is especially if it's symptomatic as you stated, then consumed before the disease becomes symptomatic.

Prion diseases have been found in humans, house cats, sheep, goats, mink, squirrels, Elk, White-tailed deer, Mule Deer and Red Deer, There is also evidence that social interaction of the deer population at feeding stations play's a role in prion transmission. What other animal can you think of that can be found in dense populations and feeds socially? Prion diseases can be inherited. There is even speculation that they may spontaneously generate in some cases.

Without comprehensive testing, any commentary regarding the actual infection rate is simply speculation. Without knowing the actual infection rate, there is no way to know what the future human infection rate will be. Will the future human prion disease rate be 1% or 94%? Banning such tests only ensures the tools needed to determine the actual infection rate will be slowed to market or never exist.

To ban testing may prevent a "false sense of security" but, I'd be willing to bet a false sense of security is the last thing the cattle industry is actually worried about.


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