Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a degenerative brain disorder which is characterized by forgetfulness, vision problems, poor coordination, and behavioral changes. This condition progresses into dementia, hallucinations, blindness, involuntary movements, and coma. Some cases occur with paranoia, depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive symptoms, and psychosis. CJD is fatal as evidenced by the 70% of patients who die within a year of being diagnosed; there is still no cure for this condition. It often affects people who are aged 55 to 65 years old.

This is caused by infectious prions, mis-folded proteins which make other prions similarly mis-folded. It then leads to the death of brain cells which is manifested by the sponge-like appearance of brain tissue. CJD usually occurs spontaneously, some cases are inherited, and others are due exposure to infected brain or spinal tissue (like in cannibalism). This disorder was first described in 1920 by Hans Gerhard Creutzfeldt, a German neurologist. Soon after, CJD was also described by another German neurologist, Alfons Maria Jakob.

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