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|The Mad Cow Calculator -- Details|
"Mad Cow Disease" is the common name for a fatal disease of cattle. The disease is caused by an infection of the brain.How does the Mad Cow Calculator work?
A similar disease occurs in humans. Strictly speaking, humans do not get mad cow disease, although it is often phrased that way. In humans, the condition should be called "new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease."
Anderson KM, Wilson PW, Odell PM, Kannel WB.The limits of the Framingham equation are discussed in a scientific statement issued by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology:
An updated coronary risk profile. A statement for health professionals.
Circulation. 1991; 83: 356-362. Pubmed record.
Assessment of cardiovascular risk by use of multiple-risk-factor assessment equations.
Grundy SM, Pasternak R, Greenland P, Smith S, Fuster V.
Circulation. 1999;100:1481-1492. Pubmed record
Full text online
We use the so-called "Hegsted equation" to estimate what your cholesterol level would be if you replaced the beef in your diet with a fat-free, cholesterol-free food having the same number of calories (broccoli, for example). The Hegsted equation may be found in:
Keys A, Parlin RW.The Hegsted equation needs to know how many calories you eat daily. We assume your weight is steady. This means the calories you eat equals the calories you burn. To calculate the calories you burn, we first calculate the basal metabolic rate using the Harris-Benedict equation published in:
Serum cholesterol response to changes in dietary lipids.
Am J Clin Nutr. 1966;19:175-181. Pubmed record.
Harris JA, Benedict FG.A multiplier (1.4, 1.6, 1.8, or 2.0) adjusts the basal metabolic rate for the different activity levels.
A Biometric Study of Basal Metabolism in Man.
Washington D.C. Carnegie Institute of Washington (1919).
Full text online. (Beware of secondary sources)
We suggest the following resources:
- The British goverment recently released the BSE Inquiry. This is a large, comprehensive report that examines the development of the Mad Cow problem in detail.
- Department of Public Health (Britain) web page on "mad cow disease"
- Ministry of Agriculture, Fish, and Food (Britain) web page on mad cow disease in animals
- The book Deadly Feasts by Richard Rhodes. It is short, painless, and very interesting. If it weren't for some cannibals in New Guinea, we would be completely in the dark about this disease.
- A Google search on Creutzfeldt Jakob
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