In Memorium: Daniel Carleton Gajdusek, 1923 – 2008

Daniel Carleton Gajdusek, Nobel prize winner for his groundbreaking work in isolating and identifying the bizarre and deadly cause of "kuru", a disease affecting especially those of New Guinea, and closely related to Creuzfeld-Jacob, Scrapie, and B.S.E. ("Mad Cow Disease") died December 12, 2008. Later, he was convicted and served time in a U.S. prison after it was revealed that he had had sexual relationships with boys. He remained unapologetic for these relations and contended that the laws punishing those having such relationships were unjust. Subsequent to his release, he spent the remainder of his years in Europe where he felt attitudes were less puritanical (sadly, this seems no longer to be true).

His contribution to our understanding of neurodegenerative disorder as caused by prions was most valuable and one can only speculate as to further advances he might have achieved had he not been prosecuted and imprisoned. His brilliance will be missed.

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