The National Institutes of Health (NIH) states “Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a form of brain damage that leads to a rapid decrease of mental function and movement.” A rare disorder, it affects one out of one million people between the ages of 20 and 70. The Mayo Clinic states that 85 to 90 percent have sporadic CJD, where there is no known cause or risk factors. The other forms of CJD are familial CJD, which is an inherited form, and new variant CJD, which is caused by mad cow disease.
The mental deterioration from CJD is noticeable. It results in cognitive problems, emotional changes and movement problems. At first, CJD resembles depression. The patient can have personality changes, such as unusual sadness or irritability. Social withdrawal can occur, where the patient pulls away from friends and family; this can also be seen with the patient's loss of interest in usual activities. In addition, the patient can also have problems concentrating when working on a task, and can have memory lapses.