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Poultry and Paralysis

The Poultry and Penis Cancer study featured last week on Care2 found an association between poultry exposure and cancer mortality, but what about non-cancer mortality? The cancer-causing viruses in chickens and turkeys (and eggs) also cause a wide variety of other diseases. In my 3 min. video Poultry Exposure and Neurological Disease I profile a study that found a link between poultry exposure and death from thyroid disorders, schizophrenia, and autoimmune diseases such as myasthenia gravis.

There is one neurological condition definitively caused by an infectious agent in poultry, Guillain-Barré syndrome. Also known as acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, it’s a brutally rapid, life-threatening auto-immune attack on the nervous system triggered by a fecal pathogen found contaminating 70% of U.S. retail poultry. It’s like multiple sclerosis in fast-forward, where instead of taking years, you can end up paralyzed on a ventilator in a matter of days. Now that polio is largely a thing of the past, the most common cause of acute paralysis in the United States is, ultimately, chicken consumption. More details in my 2 min. video Poultry and Paralysis.

Given the risk of bringing fresh or frozen chicken into one’s home (or even handling it in the store) why does the U.S. poultry industry oppose safe-handling labels? Find out in today’s video pick posted above.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

Image credit: cyclonebill / Flickr

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Dr. Michael Greger

A founding member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. Currently Dr. Greger serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States. Hundreds of his nutrition videos are freely available at


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12:57AM PST on Dec 29, 2013

Teresa W pontificates about those of us eating chicken:

"Dale, Janet and other cannibals! Please, stop flaunting your lack of compassion!"

Teresa W, do you even know what a cannibal is? I do not eat people. Cannibalism is highly illegal and I don't even know a true cannibal. I have seen some movies about fictional ones. I am sure that there are still a few out there in remote rain forest locales and if they do find me and put me in their cook pot, rest assured that since I eat organic fruit, legumes, veggies, grains and small amounts of non-factory farmed meat, they will most certainly find me very delicious. Will they have me as the main course or add kale chips as a side? If they add kale then that would make them omnivores. Which is what I am, not a cannibal. You are not on my menu.

Here is a basic primer on cannibalism for you, Teresa W:

cannibalism ~ Web definitions ~ the practice of eating the flesh of your own kind.

I hate to tell you this Teresa W, but omnivores are just as compassionate as everyone else on the planet. Flaunt, flaunt my compassion. Is that flaunting enough?

4:04PM PDT on Mar 14, 2013

Ugh, TY for the Info.

3:27AM PDT on Mar 14, 2013

thanks for sharing

6:54AM PST on Feb 14, 2013

And I agree with Paula E.

8:11AM PDT on Sep 15, 2012

I agree with you Harlson D

7:41AM PDT on Sep 15, 2012

Dale, Janet and other cannibals! Please, stop flaunting your lack of compassion!

7:40AM PDT on Sep 15, 2012

Well said, Helga!

8:22AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Fascinating but the solution is to eat organic...chickens raised organically, free range is not going to be laden with chemicals and toxins, just as veggie fare grown without a ton of pesticides and/or GMO sources will be healthier for the body.

Everything has some problem somewhere. Dr. Mercola is going on about whole grains, especially wheat being the source of mental health problems - had switched to whole grains and love them. No matter what it is someone will find a serious problem. Some are having adverse reactions to gluten. We can't win!

Most certainly will continue eating meat, fish, poultry: looking for organic sources and since I live close to rural areas this is fairly easy. If possible avoid big factory farms be it poultry, meat, fish or toxic veggies/grains/fruit covered with pesticides and toxins. Bring on the quinoa, chicken, spinach, asparagus and walnuts!

8:22AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Previous comments here, so true with packaged meat - beware of liquid on packaging, even if dried = bacteria and severe food poisoning, when handling meat/poultry/fish/shrimp/sea foods.

However, some vegans and vegetarians here are saying they are glad because they do not eat meat/poultry--a note of caution. One can get listeria, E Coli and other bacteria from lettuce/veggies, more so when eating out than home preparation as people are more cautious with preparation at home.

Various outbreaks of food poisoning have taken place involving lettuce, etc. We often forget that veggies can be a source of food poisoning especially if pre-shredded/sold in bags. It does not happen often but we need to be aware about the dangers of contamination - which can happen with veggies not just lettuce.

After a successful sortie plucking wild mushrooms (morels forever!), wild greens such as fiddleheads make sure these are prepared properly...fiddleheads are very tasty but have a mild toxin and must be cooked properly-or food poisoning can result. Before the saute always cook these tasty fern heads by blanching, steaming or boiling as this will get rid of the mild toxin - can get rather ill. Never, ever eat fiddleheads raw! (Best to steam 12 minutes or boil 15).

9:58AM PDT on Jun 12, 2012

its funny how all the people over 60 say the same thing "I've been eating this all my life and im fine". You had more time eating natural animals without hormones pesticides etc. Than someone born in the 80's have. My grandfather died at 95 and didn't start getting sick until he was 93 from eating processed foods and meats. Yea it will take some time for it to effect you but for younger people...they never had the choice. You can't honestly say the chicken you ate 25 years ago or even 30 taste like it does now. Get over your "vegan" conspiracies. It's just common sense.

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people are talking

Good article. Good posture while walking is equally important. I imagine a string running through …

Interesting. Thank you for posting.

I think they like making us play fetch. Thanks for sharing.

@Naomi D. - I love that Baha'i saying. I've never heard that before so thank you for sharing!


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