What is Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease?
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a rare untreatable condition that affects the brain. It causes brain damage that worsens rapidly over time. Those with CJD
are especially vulnerable to infection.
What causes Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease?
CJD is caused by abnormal infectious proteins called prions. A person can be infected by prions in different ways depending on what type of CJD they have.
- Sporadic CJD – The exact cause is unknown but it is thought to be due to a normal brain protein misfolding and turning into a prion.
- Variant CJD – Caused by consuming meat from a cow that had a condition called bovine spongiform encephalopathy which is also known as BSE or mad cow disease.
- Familial CJD – Occurs when a person inherits the prion protein gene that carries a mutation causing prions to form in their brain.
- Iatrogenic CJD – Occurs when the infectious prions are accidentally spread through medical or surgical treatment.
What are the symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease?
Symptoms of CJD include:
- A decline in intellect and memory
- Changes in personality
- Loss of balance and coordination
- Slurred speech
- Vision problems/blindness
- Involuntary jerking movements.