Creutzfeldt-Jakob's Disease 

Description
  • Creutzfeldt or Jakob’s disease is a brain disorder that leads to dementia and eventually death.
  • The disease is degenerative, which causes the progressive impairment of structural and functional parts of the body.

     
LocatioN
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob’s Disease can be found worldwide.
  • It is fairly rare, with only one diagnosed case per million people every year.

     
Cause
  • It is believed that the cause of Creutzfeldt-Jakob’s Disease is abnormal versions of a protein called prion.
  • Prion becomes infectious and disturbs normal biological process. 
  • Fortunately, the risk of having this disease is rare and it is not contagious by normal contact.
  • There have been some instances of infection by skin transplants, also known as iatrogenic CJD. Variant CJD is related to eating infected beef with BSE (mad cow disease). 
  • Causes can also be related to family history or by chance.

     
Symptoms
  • Symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob’s Disease are similar to other brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. Others include:
    • Impaired thinking
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Insomnia
    • Difficulty speaking
    • Memory loss
    • Changes in personality
  • Symptoms will worsen over time.

     
Treatment
  • Unfortunately, there is no cure for Creutzfeldt-Jakob’s Disease.
  • There are drugs that can help reduce pain and other symptoms to make the patient feel more comfortable.

     
Prevention
  • There is no way to prevent sporadic CJD, but if you have a family history that puts you at a higher risk, you could talk to a genetics expert.
  • Medical establishments follow strict policies for safety and prevention of iatrogenic CJD.

     
Handling
Animals    
  • There is no cure for BSE or Mad Cow Disease.
  • Ways to prevent BSE are avoiding, isolating and destroying any infected animal.
     
Other Facts
  • In the United States, only 3 cows have been reported to have Mad Cow Disease, whereas in Canada, there have been 19 reported cases.