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A Review of Kuru: The Science and Sorcery (2010)

Updated on July 23, 2014

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The disease was isolated to the Fore people.
The disease was isolated to the Fore people.

Documentary Review

Kuru: The Science and the Sorcery is a 2010 documentary about the brain disease indigenous to the Fore area in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea (PNG). It follows the work and research of Professor Michael Alpers; the current world authority on the disease, and others who contributed to understanding and controlling it.

Professor Alpers graduated from Adelaide, Australia and came to the rugged terrains of Eastern Highlands to study the mysterious disease called the ‘laughing death’ in 1961. The documentary retraces his almost 50 year relationship with the Fore people and how they have come to view.

The film also sees the disease from the perspective of the local Fore people and how they had incorporated it into their beliefs in superstition and sorcery. It gives a fair representation of the local aspect while focusing on the science.

The documentary was first aired on SBS in December of 2010.

I highly recommend this film for anyone interested in the history of the disease and the science behind its discovery.

A victim of kuru
A victim of kuru
Professor Michael Alpers
Professor Michael Alpers

Ground Zero for Kuru

A markerEastern Highlands, Papua New Guinea -
Eastern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea
get directions

This area is where the disease was first recorded.


Submit a Comment

  • bernard.sinai profile image

    Bernard Sinai 5 years ago from Papua New Guinea

    It is indeed an interesting documentary as it sees the disease from both the scientific perspective as well as the local.

    Kuru is related to Mad Cow Disease and its human variant CJD. Its study helped discover how MCD is transmitted.

  • Jade Evans profile image

    Jade Evans 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

    Sounds like an interesting doco

  • Vigilant Chef profile image

    Vigilant Chef 5 years ago

    Interesting topic!