Updated: Jan 8
Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) is a degenerative disease that leads to dementia and, ultimately, death. It is extremely rare, with only about 1 in every million people affected per year worldwide. Symptoms can be similar to those of other dementia-like brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s or Huntington’s disease, but usually, progress much more rapidly. They occur around age 60, and about 70% of individuals die within a year.
What Is Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)?
CJD is a rapidly progressing and fatal brain disorder. Symptoms occur later in life but result in death within several months. There are three major categories: sporadic, hereditary, and acquired, as defined by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Sporadic CJD occurs when the patient has no known risk factors for the disease. Unfortunately, sporadic CJD is the most common variant, accounting for at least 85% of cases.
In hereditary CJD, the patient may have a family history of the disease. They may test positive for a genetic mutation associated with CJD. Between 10-15% of CJD cases in the United States are hereditary.
With acquired CJD, the disease is transmitted by exposure to brain and nerve tissue through certain medical procedures. There is no evidence that CJD is contagious through casual contact with an affected person. Less than 1% of cases have been of acquired CJD since the disease was first described in 1920.
A specific subcategory of acquired CJD called variant CJD, or vCJD, can be transmitted by eating meat from cattle affected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy. BSE, or “mad cow disease,” presents similarities with CJD, but is restricted only to cattle.
What Are The Symptoms Of CJD?
According to the Mayo Clinic, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease is categorized by extremely rapid mental deterioration, most often within a few months. Early signs and symptoms usually include changes in personality, memory loss, impaired thinking, blurred vision and/or blindness, insomnia, sudden, jerky movements, and difficulty with coordination, speaking, and swallowing.
Symptoms worsen with the progression of the disease, with most patients eventually falling into a coma. However, heart and respiratory failure, pneumonia, or other infections are generally the cause of death, typically within a year.
In patients with vCJD, symptoms may be more apparent in the early stages of the disease. Dementia- the loss of the ability to think, reason, and remember - normally develops later in the illness. vCJD can also affect younger people and lasts between 12-14 months.
What Causes CJD?
Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease at its variants belongs to a group of human and animal diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). They are named from the spongy holes that develop in affected brain tissue, visible under a microscope.
CJD and other TSEs are caused by mutations in a protein called a prion. Produced in our body, they are harmless unless mutated and misshapen. They then become infectious and harmful to normal biological processes.
How Can Technology Affect Patients?
According to Infection Control Today, a company called Microsens described technology with the ability to detect abnormal prion proteins in the blood of a patient with Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. This is the first-ever technology of this type developed, and it has been consistent with 100% accuracy so far.
Doctors hope that with the development and specialization of this type of technology, many cases of CJD will be caught early on and allow for more research into the disease and possible cures.
How Can Nootropics Impact SJD Patients?
Patients with SJD have irregularities with the prion protein. Furthermore, nootropics improve cognition and memory. A specific one developed by neuroscientist Dr.Jones has been proven to have extremely positive results with patients with hereditary CJD risk factors. Although there is no cure for CJD, there have been antibodies developed to help cure prion-infected brain cells.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease is a very rare neurodegenerative and highly fatal disease. With symptoms rapidly increasing in severity as the illness progresses, patients normally fall into a coma, but the cause of death is usually situational infections, such as pneumonia. Technology is currently being researched and developed in order to detect CJD early on, and nootropics have had positive results.
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A friendly reminder: We've done our research, but you should too! Check our sources against your own and always exercise sound judgment.
https://www.vitafoodsinsights.com/news/breakthrough-brain-health-product-developed-former-mayo-clinic-neuroscientist https://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/view/companys-technology-demonstrates-ability-detect-cjd-human-blood https://cjdfoundation.org/about-cjd https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Creutzfeldt-Jakob-Disease-Fact-Sheet https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/creutzfeldt-jakob-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20371226
About the Author
Project Intern for The Hope Project
Davinia Ibizugbe is a Nigerian writer. She has planned her education around the hopes of becoming a future Neurosurgeon. Her interest in neurology developed early in her life. Davina has a passion for learning about neurological diseases and methods to combat them.