What is Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease?
Definition of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease: A fatal degenerative brain disorder marked by rapid mental decline. Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) strikes about 200 people in the United States each year and one in a million people worldwide. Below is a brief overview of the causes, symptoms and treatments, plus links to more information.
What Causes Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease? The leading explanation for CJD is misshapen proteins called prions. Normal prions do no harm, but scientists believe misshapen prions clump together, become infectious and cause brain damage. Brain tissue of CJD victims appears sponge-like, or filled with holes under the microscope.
Is Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Contagious? Very rarely. Most cases of CJD, about 85 percent, are spontaneous. About 5 to 10 percent of cases are caused by an inherited genetic mutation, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The rare cases of contracted CJD have been caused by exposure to CJD tissue during invasive medical procedures, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Medical Term: Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease belongs to a family of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies or TSEs.
Signs & Symptoms: CJD first causes memory problems, insomnia, depression and personality changes. As it progresses, people may experience muscle jerks, problems speaking and swallowing, blindness and go into coma.
Treatment & Remedies: Currently there is no treatment or cure available for CJD. Any medical care aims to relieve pain or symptoms during the disease. CJD usually causes death within a year, often from heart failure, respiratory failure, pneumonia or other infections.
- CJD shares some symptoms with Alzheimer’s, but CJD progresses much faster, according to the Mayo Clinic.
- Symptoms usually start in the late 50s.
- Mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalitis) is not related to classic CJD, according to the CDC.
Sources and More Information:
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease: Details from MyHealthNewsDaily
- Related Information from the Mayo Clinic
- Related Information from the National Institutes of Health
- Related Information from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
- Related Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
This information is not meant to provide specific medical advice. It is for educational purposes only. We recommend you consult a qualified health care professional for diagnoses and treatment advice, and call 9-1-1 in emergencies.
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