Freaky Friday: Eating Brains May Be the Best Way to Combat Brain Disease

Jun 12, 2015 at 4:52 pm |

The Fore people of Papua New Guinea were cannibals up until the 1950s. Today, scientists have proven that because the Fore ate the brains (and every other part) of their dead, many of the tribe members and their offspring are now immune to certain brain diseases.

In short: eating brains is healthy.

Okay– so we can’t quite jump to any conclusions, but after publishing a study in the journal Nature, researchers are convinced that at some point in time, the Fores’ brain eating customs caused their bodies to adapt to certain diseases that could be passed along by ingesting contaminated brains.

According to the report, at one point in time, a Fore member is likely to have died from the degenerative brain disorder Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). This condition would not have been contagious unless the infected organ was consumed by other humans. Due to the Fores’ funerary cannibalism, that is, eating the bodies of their deceased, those who partook in the brain with CJD most likely also caught the disease, inadvertently passing it along again after their deaths.

The study, however, found that many of the Fore now have a genetic mutation that makes them immune to CJD as well as kuru, a related brain-deteriorating disease. Calling it “a striking example of Darwinian evolution in humans,” the researcher John Collinge now wants to learn how this gene variant prevents against brain disease in the hope that his team could then find a way to cure the currently irremediable illness.


Looks like zombies were doing it right all along!