LETTER : Does BSE in the Sunday joint cause Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease?

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From Mr Harry Cayton

Sir: Peter Popham's article on BSE and its unproven link to Creutzfeldt- Jakob Disease in humans ("Warning: some statistics can drive you mad", 25 October) provided a clear and sensible analysis of the information relating to what remains an exceedingly rare dementia. It was a pity therefore that he asserted at the end that "key People Who Know in the medical profession have given up eating beef".

I know little about other people's eating habits but I'm sure that the demonstrable risk of contracting CJD from eating beef is, as Mr Popham's article argued, non-existent. Do the People Who Know spend their lives anxiously avoiding minuscule risks? Have they given up crossing the road? Have statistics really driven them mad?

We need a great deal more straightforward information about CJD and more money spent on research. The Alzheimer's Disease Society has recently established a CJD family support network and published a booklet that explains the medical and caring issues clearly and simply.

Yours sincerely,

Harry Cayton

Executive Director

Alzheimer's Disease Society

London, SW1

26 October