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CJD (creutzfeldt-jakob disease): Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About CJD (creutzfeldt-jakob disease)

This is a very rare and rapidly progressive brain disorder, also called ‘transmissible spongiform encephalopathy’. It is characterised by memory loss and abnormal, uncoordinated muscle movements. There are three varieties of creutzfeldt-jakob, namely sporadic, familial and new variant.

CJD (creutzfeldt-jakob disease): Incidence, age and sex

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is a complex neurological disorder which is very rarely encountered in the general population. It is generally seen in adults, with clinical features manifesting most commonly around 50 years of age.

Signs and symptoms of CJD (creutzfeldt-jakob disease): Diagnosis

The clinical features of creutzfeldt-jakob disease are predominantly memory loss which is typically rapid in progression along with muscular abnormalities. These muscular abnormalities include twitching and stiffness of muscles coupled with uncoordinated movements. The affected individual typically walks with a staggering gait. Occasional seizures have also been documented. As the disease progresses, features like blurring of vision, speech problems, personality changes, mental confusion and sleep disturbances may ensue.

Such symptoms warrant immediate consultation with a neurologist who specialises in disorders related to brain. The neurologist will take a detailed history and conduct a comprehensive examination to assess the neurological faculties and mental status of the individual. Investigations like EEG, MRI scans of the brain and spinal tap may help in establishing the diagnosis.

Causes and prevention of CJD (creutzfeldt-jakob disease)

The most common type of creutzfeldt-jakob disease is the sporadic type which has no clear cut underlying cause linked to it. This disease can also be inherited along the family lines as seen in the familial variety of creutzfeldt-jakob disease but very few such cases have been documented. Another type of creutzfeldt-jakob disease called the ‘new variant’ which is more common in younger adults may be infectious in nature. It is chiefly seen in individuals who have had a recent corneal transplant from an infected donor.

CJD (creutzfeldt- jakob disease): Complications

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is rapidly progressive and may result in grave health concerns like heart or respiratory failure, both of which may lead to death. Moreover increased incidence of infections may also be seen in affected individuals which may result from poor self care attitude.

CJD (creutzfeldt- jakob disease): Treatment

Unfortunately, this disease is incurable but certain medications may be prescribed to the patient to alleviate symptoms. Interleukins have been known to delay the progression of disease in some individuals. Drugs can be given to control seizures and manage psychiatric manifestations like mood changes or aggressive behaviours. Supportive care plays an important role in management of such individuals. The outlook of creutzfeldt-jakob disease is very poor, resulting in rapid deterioration of physical and mental condition of the affected individual.