Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease


Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which is shortened CJD, attacks the brain and causes dementia. Today it is not possible to cure Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which quickly leads to death. The treatment is aimed at relieving the symptoms. Due to the rapid course of the illness, those who have become ill professional nursing need soon after the illness.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or CJD as it is sometimes abbreviated, belongs to the group of prion diseases. Prion diseases occur in both humans and animals. Prion is an infectious agent (prion protein) that infects the cerebral cortex of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).

In prion diseases, the prions accumulate in the brain tissue, where they cause the nerve cells to die. When the nerve cells disappear, cavities form in the brain tissue so that the brain eventually resembles a sponge for appearance. The changes in the brain give rise to dementia and various neurological symptoms.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is divided into four different forms depending on what has caused it. Only one of the forms, sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Occasional Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

The sporadic form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease occurs spontaneously in the patient. The cause is unknown. This is the most common form of the disease and as far as you know the More than one person per one million residents get the disease.

Other forms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

Familiar with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

Familiar Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is the hereditary form of the disease. It is caused by a gene change. About 15 percent of those who contract Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease get the hereditary form. It is not known if there have been any cases of familial Creutzfeldt-Jakob.

Within the health care system transmitted Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

Creutzfeldt-Jakob’s disease can be transmitted by certain treatments within the healthcare system. People have become ill after receiving growth hormone produced by pituitary glands from deceased humans or after undergoing transplants when they have had parts of the hard cornea or cornea of ​​a deceased person in surgery.

Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

In the 1990s, a new form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease was discovered in the UK. It was named variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob’s disease, vCJD. The disease is believed to have occurred when people ate meat products from cattle infected with prion disease BSE, the so-called mad cow disease. Nor is this form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is a dementia disease. This means that the memory and thinking ability of the sick person is affected so that it becomes difficult to cope with everyday life. Dementia and disorders of the balance are often the first signs of the disease. Then there will also be symptoms such as paralysis, muscle twitching, seizures, movement patterns, difficulty speaking and swallowing, visual disturbances and hallucinations. Often psychological symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and aggression also occur.

The symptoms OF Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and age at which they appear to vary somewhat between the different forms of the disease. Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the only form usually produces symptoms only at the age of 60-70. The course of the disease is rapid. The affected person usually dies within six months to a year.


Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease does not transmit through direct contact between people. On the other hand, infections have occasionally been transmitted through retinal transplants or parts of the hard cornea, or when humans have received growth hormone produced by pituitary glands from deceased people. 

People who have eaten beef products from cattle infected with BSE, the so-called mad cow disease, have had the variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The parts of the animals that are considered to be capable of transmitting infection are brain tissue, spinal cord, eyes, parts of the gut and the tonsils. These parts must be removed and destroyed at slaughter in accordance with a law that applies throughout the EU. 

Seek care

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is characterized by dementia symptoms that come quickly. Sometimes the early problems can be interpreted as depression or other mental illnesses. In the event of rapid onset of mental changes, memory disorders or movement disorders, it is important to contact the health care center.

You can seek care at any healthcare center you want throughout the country. You also have the opportunity to have a regular doctor’s contact at the health center. 

You have the right to understand

In order for you to be able to participate in your care and make decisions, it is important that you understand the information you receive from the healthcare staff. Ask questions if you don’t understand. You can also ask for information printed so that you can read it peacefully. 


Most often, the GP makes an initial assessment and then sends a referral for further examination with a neurologist.

In order to determine if a person is suffering from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the doctor makes an assessment of the symptoms and the course of the disease. It also measures the electrical activity in the brain ( EEG examination ) and the brain with a magnetic camera (MRI). In addition, samples are sometimes taken from the spinal fluid. Patients with suspected Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease are usually admitted to a neurological ward or clinic.

A safe diagnosis can only be made by examining a tissue sample from the patient’s brain after his or her death.

Treatment of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is in all its forms an incurable, deadly disease. Treatment is therefore aimed at relieving the symptoms. Mental illnesses such as anxiety and anxiety, as well as cramps, can be relieved with medication. Soon after the illness, the sick person needs so much care that it becomes impossible to stay home.

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