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Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a rare, degenerative brain disorder. Symptoms usually start around age 60. Memory problems, behavior changes, vision problems, and poor muscle coordination progress quickly to dementia, coma, and death. Most patients die within a year.

The three main categories of CJD are

  • Sporadic CJD, which occurs for no known reason
  • Hereditary CJD, which runs in families
  • Acquired CJD, which occurs from contact with infected tissue, usually during a medical procedure

Cattle can get a disease related to CJD called bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or "mad cow disease." There is concern that people can get a variant of CJD from eating beef from an infected animal, but there is no direct proof to support this.

NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

The following features are indicative of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease:
  • personality changes
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • memory loss
  • impaired thinking
  • blurred vision
  • insomnia
  • difficulty speaking
  • difficulty swallowing
  • jerky movements

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Common Causes of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

The following are the most common causes of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease:
  • family history
  • exposure to infected human tissue
  • abnormal versions of a prion protein

Risk Factors for Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease:
  • age around 60
  • genetic mutations
  • exposure to contaminated tissue

Prevention of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • exclusive use of synthetic human growth hormone
  • destruction of surgical instruments used on the brain
  • single use kits for spinal taps
  • tight restrictions on importation of cattle from countries
  • restrictions on animal feed
  • strict procedures for dealing with sick animals
  • surveillance and testing methods for tracking cattle health
  • restrictions on which parts of cattle can be processed for food

Occurrence of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Extremely rare less than 1000 cases

Common Age Group

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged > 50 years

Common Gender

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease:
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG): To measure the brain's electrical activity
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): To diagnose brain disorders because of its high-resolution images of the brain's white and gray matter

Doctor for Diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease:
  • Neurologist

Complications of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease if untreated

Yes, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease is left untreated:
  • lose the ability to recognize friends and family
  • withdrawal from friends and family
  • coma
  • can be fatal

Procedures for Treatment of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

The following procedures are used to treat Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease:
  • Palliative care: Helps in managing the symptoms and coping with the disease

Patient Support for Treatment of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

The following actions may help Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease patients:
  • Family support: Helps in coping with the disease

Time for Treatment of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • Disease cannot be treated but only maintained or effects reduced

Is Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Infectious?

Yes, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease is known to be infectious. It can spread across people via the following means:
  • exposure to infected human tissues

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Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

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