Eating the brains of dead relatives could help build immunity to dementia. That’s how people in Papua New Guinea’s Fore tribe have managed to stave off the disease, scientists have discovered.
Fore tribespeople have proven to have developed strong resistance over time to kuru prion disease, an unusual yet deadly strain of dementia, according to the findings published in Nature by a team of British and Papua New Guinean scientists.
This communal vaccine has evolved through a traditional Fore ritual of eating the brain of deceased relatives at funerals.
Kuru, a disease likened to BSE in cattle, peaked in the 1950’s after claiming up to 2% of the Fore population a year.