Pronounced: Kroytz-felt Jay-kob
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a rare, fatal, degenerative brain disorder characterized by rapidly progressive dementia.
CJD can be categorized into different subtypes:
There has been a lot of scientific research about the cause of CJD. Today, it is generally believed that most noninherited cases are caused by infectious proteins called prions. Prions can transform normal protein molecules into abnormal, disease-causing molecules.
Factors that can increase your chance of developing CJD include:
Initially, there are no symptoms. As CJD progresses, symptoms that may occur include:
Depending on the type of CJD, the disease may last from 3-36 months or longer. It is almost always fatal.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
CJD is a difficult disease to diagnose. There is no single test to detect it. The following tests may be used to help make a diagnosis:
There is no cure for CJD. The aim of treatment is to relieve pain and alleviate symptoms.
Drug therapy may include:
To avoid the new variant form of this condition, it is recommended that you avoid eating beef produced in areas that may have BSE. There are no known ways to prevent other forms of CJD.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Foundation, Inc.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
World Health Organization
Public Health Agency of Canada
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Last reviewed March 2013 by Rimas Lukas, MD
Last Updated: 03/15/2013