Variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease
It is believed that vCJD is caused by proteins called prions. Prions are normal proteins in the body. These prions may fold up in a way that is not normal. This can change them into the protein that causes the illness. The buildup of these prions may be linked to vCJD.
|The Nervous System|
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After a person is exposed, it can take up to 20 years until they feel sick. Problems get worse over time and include:
- Early phase (0 to 6 months)—mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety , withdrawal, memory problems, and trouble speaking
- Middle phase—nervous system problems, such as difficulty with walking and coordination, muscle jerking and stiffness, and a hard time speaking
- Late phase—being unable to talk or move
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done.
These tests may be done to learn more about the brain:
- Blood tests
- Electroencephalogram (EEG) to record the electrical activity of the brain
- Lumbar puncture to test the fluid that protects the brain and spinal cord
Images may be taken with:
- MRI scan
- CT scan
- SPECT scan
The only way to diagnose vCJD is for a doctor to look at the brain after a person has died.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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a (Human Mad Cow Disease; vCJD)
Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Foundation, Inc. http://www.cjdfoundation.org
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke http://www.ninds.nih.gov
Health Canada https://www.canada.ca
Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/creutzfeldt-jakob-disease. Accessed January 25, 2021.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/cjd/detail%5Fcjd.htm. Accessed January 25, 2021.
Geschwind MD. Prion Diseases. Continuum (Minneap Minn). 2015 Dec;21(6 Neuroinfectious Disease):1612-1638.
Mackenzie G, Will R. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: recent developments. F1000res. 2017;6:2053.