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March 1979

Essays on Kuru

Arch Neurol. 1979;36(3):183. doi:10.1001/archneur.1979.00500390101026

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Kuru is a disappearing disease of great relevance to modern neurology. The multidisciplinary essays of this volume were prepared for the Symposium on Kuru held in connection with the 1970 meeting of the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science in Port Moresby, New Guinea. Some of the articles have been updated to a limited extent. Aspects of the geography, ethnography, epidemiology, neurology, virology, and pathology of the disease are presented, often in a fascinating manner. The reviews were developed as "definitive descriptions" in their fields, and in many cases this is so.

The anthropology of the kuru region is thoroughly covered by Glasse and Lindenbaum. The topic of kuru sorcery is especially well reviewed, although the adaptive value of this behavior is not stressed. As stated by Lindenbaum, the Fore people believe that kuru results from the activity of a sorcerer, who steals some discarded personal

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