Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a rare, fatal, degenerative brain disorder characterized by rapidly progressive
and neuromuscular problems.
There are four types of CJD:
Sporadic (classical) CJD—most common type; usually affects people age 50 and older
Familial CJD—an inherited form of the disease
Iatrogenic CJD—contracted through medical procedures, such as injections of growth hormone or receipt of
or dura mater implants from affected donors
New variant CJD (nvCJD)
—relatively new form of CJD. It is caused by eating contaminated beef products, which may cause bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). BSE is commonly known as mad cow disease. nvCJD differs from other forms of CJD because it affects younger people and has a longer average time course.
There has been a great deal of scientific research and debate about the cause of CJD. Today, it is generally believed that most noninherited cases are caused by infectious proteins called prions. Prions can transform normal protein molecules into abnormal, disease-causing molecules.
These factors increase your chance of developing CJD. Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors:
Age: CJD most commonly occurs in people aged 50-75
Use of cadaveric growth hormone
Dura mater grafts
Family members with CJD (Approximately 5%-10% of cases are inherited.)
Eating beef products produced by countries with an epidemic of BSE (mad cow disease)
Healthcare workers who work with brain tissues
Initially, there are no symptoms. As CJD progresses, symptoms that may occur include:
There is no cure for CJD. The aim of treatment is to relieve pain and alleviate symptoms.
Drug therapy may include:
Opiate medication to treat pain
Anticonvulsive drugs to help decrease neuromuscular problems
To avoid the new variant form of this condition, it is recommended that you avoid eating beef produced in areas that may have BSE (mad cow disease). There are no known ways to prevent other forms of CJD.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a