A company testing the effects of irradiated food on growth and development reported that some cats fed such a diet developed severe neurological dysfunction, including movement disorders, vision loss and paralysis.
The cats developed the symptoms, which appeared to be the result of a demyelinating disease, after being on the diet for three to four months. Myelin is a fatty insulator of nerve fibers that degrades in a host of human central nervous system disorders, such as multiple sclerosis.
The afflicted cats were shown to have severe and widely distributed demyelination of the central nervous system. In cats removed from the diet, demyelinated axons slowly became remyelinated, but the restored myelin sheaths were still not as thick as healthy myelin.
The exact cause of the neurological affliction in the cats on the experimental diet is unknown.