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CJD fears from anatomy lab

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anxiousmarie

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We were viewing cadavers and wet specimens including brain tissue. A used glove (touched the cadaver and specimens) was inside out and I went to put it on. My hands have eczema and I got scared that I could contract CJD from the used glove. I washed my hands after and told my professor. She said I should be fine since the cadavers are screened and are from the UCSF Willed Body Program. Then I told her I was more concerned about the specimens and she told me that they are also from the willed body program, were properly embalmed and don’t contain infectious materials.They were acquired more than 30 years ago. This is what concerns me. I don’t think they had screening for prions back then. I am so afraid and almost certain I have CJD. Someone please reassure me.
 
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We were viewing cadavers and wet specimens including brain tissue. A used glove (touched the cadaver and specimens) was inside out and I went to put it on. My hands have eczema and I got scared that I could contract CJD from the used glove. I washed my hands after and told my professor. She said I should be fine since the cadavers are screened and are from the UCSF Willed Body Program. Then I told here I was more concerned about the specimens and she told me that we’re also from the willed body program, we’re properly embalmed and don’t contain infectious materials.They were acquired more than 30 years ago. This is what concerns me. I don’t think they had screening for prions back then. I am so afraid and almost certain I have CJD. Someone please reassure me.

Have you considered accounting?
 
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OchemOficionado

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We were viewing cadavers and wet specimens including brain tissue. A used glove (touched the cadaver and specimens) was inside out and I went to put it on. My hands have eczema and I got scared that I could contract CJD from the used glove. I washed my hands after and told my professor. She said I should be fine since the cadavers are screened and are from the UCSF Willed Body Program. Then I told her I was more concerned about the specimens and she told me that they are also from the willed body program, were properly embalmed and don’t contain infectious materials.They were acquired more than 30 years ago. This is what concerns me. I don’t think they had screening for prions back then. I am so afraid and almost certain I have CJD. Someone please reassure me.

Your professor has already reassured you. Don’t worry. You’re fine. Make a doctors appointment if it will make you feel better.
 
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ciestar

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I sliced my finger open during anatomy, which required stitches, here I am years later.

You’re fine. Wayy overreacting.
 
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Goro

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We were viewing cadavers and wet specimens including brain tissue. A used glove (touched the cadaver and specimens) was inside out and I went to put it on. My hands have eczema and I got scared that I could contract CJD from the used glove. I washed my hands after and told my professor. She said I should be fine since the cadavers are screened and are from the UCSF Willed Body Program. Then I told her I was more concerned about the specimens and she told me that they are also from the willed body program, were properly embalmed and don’t contain infectious materials.They were acquired more than 30 years ago. This is what concerns me. I don’t think they had screening for prions back then. I am so afraid and almost certain I have CJD. Someone please reassure me.
I get asked this every year and my response is always that the medical literature shows link between doing dissection and any prion disease. If there were, we'd see droves of doctors dying of CJD every year.

The brain tissue gets fixed in formalin, you know?
 
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differentiating

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The brains don’t have CJD and you won’t catch it from them. From someone who has worked with formalin-fixed brains before and has yet to contract a prion disease: you’re fine, and there are plenty of other, more realistic things to worry about.
 
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Matthew9Thirtyfive

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The brains don’t have CJD and you won’t catch it from them. From someone who has worked with formalin-fixed brains before and has yet to contract a prion disease: you’re fine, and there are plenty of other, more realistic things to worry about.

Yeah like smelling like dead people constantly even after showering.
 
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anxiousmarie

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I get asked this every year and my response is always that the medical literature shows link between doing dissection and any prion disease. If there were, we'd see droves of doctors dying of CJD every year.

The brain tissue gets fixed in formalin, you know?
But formalin doesn’t inactive prions?
 
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Angus Avagadro

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CJD is very rare in humans, unless the patient was from a 3rd world country where they were eating monkey brains. The risk is not zero, but darn near zero.
Try to calm down
You'll be fine
You take greater risks driving to school
 
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nimbus

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I haven’t done a literature search but I have not heard of a single case report of CJD acquired during anatomy lab. You almost certainly do not have CJD. Don’t take up cannibalism and you’ll be fine.
 
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We were viewing cadavers and wet specimens including brain tissue. A used glove (touched the cadaver and specimens) was inside out and I went to put it on. My hands have eczema and I got scared that I could contract CJD from the used glove. I washed my hands after and told my professor. She said I should be fine since the cadavers are screened and are from the UCSF Willed Body Program. Then I told her I was more concerned about the specimens and she told me that they are also from the willed body program, were properly embalmed and don’t contain infectious materials.They were acquired more than 30 years ago. This is what concerns me. I don’t think they had screening for prions back then. I am so afraid and almost certain I have CJD. Someone please reassure me.

I’m a surgeon. I’ve been stabbed with hep c needles. Had blood splashed in my eye. A friend of mine accidentally got a piece of cadaver thrown into his mouth (it ricocheted off the body). We are all fine. The odds are in your favor.
 
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LeaveNoTrace

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  • The risk from a single exposure to live, unembalmed human tissue is pretty low
  • The cadavers have been preserved in formalin
  • The donors have been screened
Sounds like that adds up to "you're good; you're more likely to be killed by being struck by lightning on your way to school than by CJD gotten from anatomy lab cadavers".
 
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thumbz

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What if you lick the brain? That sounds riskier.

On the plus side, you have about 25 years before you run into issues.


(All of this is sarcastic, unless you transplanted part of the brain into your brain you're fine)
 
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anxiousmarie

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  • The risk from a single exposure to live, unembalmed human tissue is pretty low
  • The cadavers have been preserved in formalin
  • The donors have been screened
Sounds like that adds up to "you're good; you're more likely to be killed by being struck by lightning on your way to school than by CJD gotten from anatomy lab cadavers".
I’m just not sure if they screened for CJD 30+ years ago
 

glassshark

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I do autopsies for a living. Multiple fluid exposures over the years, and have yet to contract anything. Prions are the least of your concern.

Word of advice though, don't ever put on gloves unless you've gotten them straight out of the box or sterile packaging.
 
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Engrailed

Are your hands dry as well?
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Also don’t stick yourself when working with human pluripotent stem cells either. I did that in lab once. OOPS. Still somehow doing just OK! (Thanks, immune system;) !

add: I had my OD-OCD-OMG moment right then and there but luckily a heme oncologist/stem cell researcher at the lab next door assured me all would be well. If not for that, I may or may not have had a full panic attack:laugh:
 
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LeaveNoTrace

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I’m just not sure if they screened for CJD 30+ years ago

So what if they didn’t? You still have a rare disease (let’s be generous and call it 1/100,000), a low likelihood of getting infected from typical anatomy lab usage (call that one in ten thousand) and then formalin preservation, which...let’s say that lowers your risk tenfold. I would still ballpark your odds of getting CJD at less than a billion to one.

You are more likely to be killed by being struck by lightning.
 
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