Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease is a degenerative, rare invariably fatal brain disorder. The disease usually occurs later in life, and the onset of symptoms typically occurs at the ages of fifty to seventy-five. Some of the symptoms that people could face in the early stages are failing memory, visual disturbances, behavioral changes, and lack of coordination. In later stages as the disease progresses you could face blindness, mental deterioration becomes pronounced, and coma could occur. As of today there are no effective treatments, but studies are currently testing different types of antiviral drugs.
Researchers have different ideas to what they believe is the cause of this disease. Some believe that a “slow virus” or a different kind of organism is the reason. While other researchers believe in the scientific theory that states Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is a result of an abnormal prion protein. Prion proteins are harmless proteins found in our body’s cells, but they can be infectious as well. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders “both types of prion proteins have the same sequence of amino acids, but the infectious form of the protein takes a different folded shape than the normal protein” (2009:1).
Abnormal prion proteins clump together once they appear, which researchers believe could be the cause for brain damage and neuron loss that is seen in Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. This disease can also be caused due to inheritance. About five to ten percent of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease is due to a change or mutation in the gene. Mutations can be transmitted to a person’s offspring if the prion protein is altered in the person’s sperm or egg. As stated by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders “All mutations in the prion protein gene are inherited as dominate genes” (2009:1).
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is classified as a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, due to the spongy deterioration of the brain that it causes, and its ability to be transmitted. This disease comes in four different forms; Sporadic, Familial, Iatrogenic, and Variant. Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease occurs mainly in people who are homozygous for methionine, and it accounts for about 85% of these cases. Familial Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease occurs within families that have an autosomal dominant mode of inheritance, and it makes up about 5-15% of these cases. Iatrogenic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is caused due to administration of human derived pituitary growth hormones and contaminated surgical equipment, and it accounts for less than 5% of these cases. The last type of this disease is Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which is caused by eating meat products that have been contaminated with infected tissues.
There are different types of test that can help detect Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Such as spinal fluid test, electroencephalograms, and magnetic resonance imaging. According to the Mayo clinic staff the authors of the article...