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Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

What is Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease?

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a rare, degenerative, invariably fatal brain disorder. It affects about one person in every million people worldwide every year; In the United States, there are about 300 cases per year. CJD appears mostly in later life and runs a fast course.

Causes of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease:

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease is caused by a protein called a prion. A prion causes normal proteins to fold abnormally. This affects other proteins’ ability to function.
CJD is very rare. It occurs in about 1 of every 1 million people.

There are several types of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. The classic types are:

  • Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease makes up most cases. It occurs for no known reason. The average age at which it starts is 65.
  • Familial CJD occurs when a person inherits the abnormal prion from a parent (this form of CJD is rare).
  • Acquired CJD includes variant CJD (vCJD), the form related to mad cow disease. Iatrogenic CJD is also an acquired form of the disease. Iatrogenic CJD is sometimes passed through a blood product transfusion, transplant, or contaminated surgical instruments.
  • Variant CJD is caused by eating infected meat. The infection that causes the disease in cows is believed to be the same one that causes vCJD in humans.
  • Variant CJD causes less than 1% of all CJD cases. It tends to affect younger people. Fewer than 200 people worldwide have had this disease. Almost all cases occurred in England and France.
  • CJD may be related to several other diseases caused by prions, including:
  • Chronic wasting disease (found in deer)
  • Kuru (affected mostly women in New Guinea who ate the brains of dead relatives as part of a funeral ritual)
  • Scrapie (found in sheep)
  • Other very rare inherited human diseases, such as Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker disease and fatal familial insomnia

Symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease:

  • People may have
  • Failing memory
  • Behavioral changes
  • Lack of coordination
  • Visual disturbances
  • As the illness progresses, mental deterioration becomes pronounced and involuntary movements, blindness, weakness of extremities, and coma may occur.

Diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease:

Only a brain biopsy or an examination of brain tissue after death (autopsy) can confirm the presence of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, accurate diagnosis can be based on your medical and personal history, a neurological exam, and certain diagnostic tests.
In  addition, these test helps in detecting CJD

  • Electroencephalogram (EEG).
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
  • Spinal fluid tests.

Treatment of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease:

There’s currently no cure for Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, so treatment aims to relieve symptoms and make the affected person feel as comfortable as possible.
This can include using medication such as

  • Antidepressants to help with anxiety and depression, and painkillers to relieve pain. Some people will need nursing care and assistance with feeding.

By : Natural Health News

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