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What is Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome?

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome is a rare incurable brain disease. It affects one in every million people. It generally affects people above the age of 60 years. The person survives not more than a year. There are three types of this disease namely, the sporadic, hereditary and acquired forms. Nearly 200 cases per year of this syndrome are reported in the United States.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome Symptoms:

  • Rapidly progressive dementia
  • Personality changes
  • Memory loss
  • Hallucinations
  • Jerky movements
  • Speech impairments
  • Rigid postures
  • Seizures
  • Balance and coordination dysfunction
  • Changes in gait

Causes: An infectious agent called prion releases protein chemicals in the brain which start killing the cells of the brain progressively. The above mentioned signs of the disease is owing to this event inside the brain. It is not clear about how humans develop this condition.

Diagnosis: MRI of the brain, Cerebrospinal fluid analysis and Electroencephalography are some of the diagnostic techniques which are carried out for confirming the condition. They are started once signs like dementia and jerky movements are seen in the patient. It is tough to diagnose this condition for ome uncommon reasons too. It is so rare that doctors physicians can hardly conclude that the patient indeed has this disease. Moreover, expecting the physicians themselves to be aware of such ailments is another possibility to be looked at.

Treatment of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome: Unfortunately, there is no treatment for this disease as the underlying mechanisms are still explored and are subjects of research. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco are carrying out a trial treatment involving usage of malarial drug quinacrine to address this condition. Initial studies have shown that the drug cleared the harmful proteins released by prions from all the test cells in laboratory. The results of the study are yet to be published.

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