What is Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease?

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is an incurable and invariably fatal brain disease, a kind of transmissible spongi form encephalopathy that is also called the human form of Mad Cow Disease.Creutzfeldt

This is a degenerative neurological disorder characterized by holes forming in the brain, causing it to become sponge like in aspect.

The disease could, in some cases, be fatal within months or even weeks of detection and there is no known cure.

It is usually known to be transmitted by eating contaminated beef.

However it is now being known that CJD could also be caused as a result of hospital surgery; although the risk or chance of this happening is very remote and no known case has been reported even though certain individuals are thought to be at risk.

CJD occurs with the buildup of amyloids caused abnormal prion proteins and the progressive death of brain cells. Under a microscope, it is possible to see the holes in the brain of a CJD sufferer, where cell death has created gaps and created a holey, sponge like appearance.

The symptoms of CJD are:

  • The person may show signs of quickly progressing dementia – there could be memory loss, difficulties with reasoning, learning, retaining information and recalling past experiences
  • There could be changes in thoughts, feeling and activities; and significant personality chances noted
  • A person may have hallucinations
  • The person’s quality of life may be compromised very significantly and the person may become unable to function on his/her own or without assistance of family or caregivers
  • Physical changes are also noted in people with CJD – their movements may be disjointed, their gait may change, they develop speech difficulties and also have problems with balance and coordination of movement as well as a rigid posture.
  • Seizures are also a symptom of CJD