Does cannibalism actually produce "the shakes"?

After re-watching “The Book of Eli” for the nth time, I wondered about a concept from the movie…
The movie suggests that human cannibalism would, at some point, result in “the shakes” or trembling of the hands (and possibly other body parts).
Is there actually any scientific basis to this or is it purely a fictional invention?
How much human flesh would a person have to consume to produce this effect?
Would it subside after a period of non-cannibalism?
(Not that I’m going to engage in any experiments myself, mind you. :smiley: :smiley: )
I’m sure there hasn’t been much real-world investigation into the subject but I’m just curious if there is any accuracy to the idea.

I can’t think of any reason why, human meat is still meat.

Does the film suggest it’s a psychological thing or an illness?

Psychologically, just having ‘the shakes’ be a well known result of cannibalism could make it happen.

There could be a somewhat common prion disease in book of eli world that could produce neurological effects and would likely survive cooking.

“Does the film suggest it’s a psychological thing or an illness?”

Neither. It’s simply an affect of the cause.

But given that the world in the movie is a post-atomic apocalyptic setting, it could be a result from eating irradiated human flesh.

But I’m just curious if there is any scientific validity to the premise.

I don’t think human meat in general is the problem, it’s specifically eating the brains, but the person might have to be infected with a virus first I’m not sure. They call it Kuru or laughing Disease in Papau New Guinea, and it does cause trembling in the limbs, its a form of prion disease and causes misfolded proteins to proliferate and causes a sort of dimentia, I believe it also has something to do with all the cholesterol in the brain.

I read an interesting article a while back with some population studies indicating that among the tribes that practiced this some had evolved some sort of genes that provided a protective effect against the disease so it must have been quite widespread for a while there.

It could also be a misunderstanding of cannibalism on the part of the book’s author. Cannibals in Papua New Guinea developed shaking symptoms as a result of a prion disease (basically a human variant of what we call mad cow disease). In earlier times, the cause of the disease wasn’t well understood, though the connection to cannibalism was fairly obvious. This led to the somewhat common belief that cannibalism by itself could cause neurological disorders.

Even though we now understand that improperly folded prions are to blame, the belief that cannibalism alone leads to neurological disorders lives on.

Spongiform encephalopathy does not currently have a cure and does not subside on its own. Some of the symptoms, like the shaking hands and twitching, can be managed somewhat with medication.

The Book of Eli (a film) was released in 2010. It was pretty clear to me that the filmmakers were implying that the cannibal shakes were caused by Kuru.

So you just have to prepare the carcass properly, like blowfish.

Prions are tricky little buggers, hard to get rid of. Ideally, if you’re going to eat someone, you’ll want to pick a non-cannibal…it lacks the delicious irony but it’s still fairly tasty.

Avoid the brain, spinal column and tonsils, for a start. And screen your prospective consumables for other possible prion diseases as well (Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, variant CJD, Fatal Familial Insomnia, Gerstmann–Sträussler–Scheinker syndrome). Cannibalistic transmission hasn’t been proven for those prions, but it is a pretty good bet.

To my mothers only occasional bitter irritation, she warned the specialists that there was a danger of CJD associated with donor dura mater grafts (and pituitary extract treatments), and was treated with derision because (a) she was a woman (b) she was a foreigner, and (c) she was just a public health doctor (with experience treating kuru patients).

There are some lessons you only learn by making your patients carry a cat home by the tail.

I understand this wise advice applies to other meat species as well. More socially conventional ones, I mean. I understand that interspecific transmission isn’t universally proven, but BSE seems to be reliably associated with vCJD. (Scrapie seems to not be a danger to humans. I wonder about CWD though.)

The Red Cross says I can’t give blood because of the possibility of being exposed to CJD. Just putting it out there in case someone is feeling peckish.

I used to work with an old Filipino man who claimed that during the war they had eaten Japanese soldiers they captured. Kind of a ritualistic thing. He was a young child at the time. he claimed it was the best tasting meat.

Kuru was one of the things I thought of when I saw the film, although I reflected that it could be some other factor I was unaware of. or it could just be a case of Facts the Screenwriter Made Up.
as a rule, don’t trust the movies, especially action movies, for accurate information. This was probably a Plot Point of Convenience. The film is moderately clever, but

[spoiler] I simply can’t buy the implication that Eli is blind. It stretches my credulity a bit too far.

And a Braille Bible takes up a whole bookshelf. [/spoiler]

It been recorded several times that the Japanese tasted better than the Dutch, which I attribute to their diet.

As I’ve mentioned before, in the area were we lived, there was a subsistence diet of sweet potatoes, and I’ve always thought that if I was subjected to a diet of 100% sweet potatoes for 99% of my meals, I’d be open to the option of ritualistic/sacramental/ceremonial cannibalism too.

It sounds like your colleague was in a similar situation.

since he memorized the Bible, i took it as he was committing the last book of it to memory. He neednt have the whole thing with him.

Do they let you do this on online dating sites?

Well then you would not like Daredevil.

Yep; Kuru. First brought to my attention by Dream Park way back in 1981. The Cargo Cult is one of the more colorful and fascinating syncretic belief systems I’ve ever encountered; they are right up there with Haitian Vodun IMO.