Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: Overview

Modified on 2009/10/14 21:41 by admin
The rare but dreaded variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) is a human spongiform encephalopathy. It tends to afflict relatively young people, even adolescents; normally, CJD very rarely strikes anyone under the age of 45. Moreover, the incubation period of vCJD appears to be only a few years, compared with the several decades believed to be required for normal sporadic or familial CJD. Researchers in this field note, however, that the incubation time and pathological manifestation of the disease is influenced by factors such as the route of inoculation, the dose and source of the infecting agent, and the genetics of the host being infected. Whether normal or variant, CJD is a rare, yet horrible, disease that normally strikes 1-2 persons per million and is always fatal, generally within one year. Its outward symptoms in humans resemble those of Alzheimer's disease in several ways: depression sets in, dementia begins and then accelerates, and eventually the patient loses all physical control of his or her functions. However, necropsies of brains of Alzheimer's and CJD patients show a significant difference: brains of Alzheimer's patients are laced with amyloid plaque, whereas those of CJD patients, while also containing amyloid plaque deposits, are found to be full of spongy holes, principally in the cerebral tissue. Because of these spongy holes, CJD and its equivalent in animals is also called spongiform encephalopathy (SE). Variant CJD is believed to be caused by exposure to cattle infected with Mad Cow disease.

See Also

  1. Head & Brain Injury
  2. Chondroitin: Overview
  3. Mad Cow Disease: Overview
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