Cjd brain disease
CJD Brain Disease

CJD Brain Disease: 10 Symptoms, Causes, and Risk Factors

CJD Brain Disease: Symptoms, Causes, and Risk Factors – Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) or mad cow disease is a rare neurodegenerative condition. It has a severe effect on the brain. CJD gradually destroys brain cells and causes small holes to form in the brain.

People with CJD have difficulty controlling body movements, changes in walking and speech styles, and dementia.

There’s no cure for the disease. It develops rapidly and each case is fatal. A person usually dies within 1 year after symptoms appear.

There are different types of CJD. It can develop sporadically, without identifiable patterns. It can be inherited and can be transmitted.

“Classic” CJD develops in people over the age of 60 and affects one in a million people each year, globally.

Another type, called variant CJD (vCJD), affects younger people.

A person can contract vCJD after eating beef suffering from bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly called mad cow disease. However, developing vCJD in this way is rare.

CJD Brain Disease Symptoms

The Creutzfeldt – Jakob disease is characterized by a rapid mental deterioration, usually within a few months. The main signs and symptoms of CJD usually include:

  • Changes in personality
  • Restless
  • Depression
  • Memory loss
  • Decreased thinking
  • Blurred view
  • Insomnia
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Sudden and uncontrollable movement of the body

As it develops, the mental symptoms will worsen. Many of them even fell into a coma. Heart failure, respiratory failure, pneumonia or other infections generally lead to death. The disease usually takes seven months, although in some of those with the disease, it can live normally within a year or two after diagnosis. In some of those with a rare variant of CJD, the more likely symptom to occur at first is dementia’s lost ability to think and remember.

Causes of CJD Brain Disease

There are three types of classic CJD. Each has a different cause:

Sporadic (sCJD)

This is the most common type. It is caused by a harmful protein in the body called prion. Prion protein is a normal part of your body. But sometimes they can fold the wrong way when they are formed. These “wrong folds” prions infect the brain and destroy brain cells. Scientists don’t know why this happened.

Familial (fCJD)

This happens to people who inherit evil genes from parents. Only 10% to 15% of CJD cases each year are familial..


The rarest form, It occurs when a person comes into contact with medical devices (such as scalpels), organs (through transplantation), or CJD-infected growth hormone. That makes up less than 1% of classic CJD cases.

Risk factors

Most cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease occur for unknown reasons, and no risk factors can be identified. However, several factors seem to be related to different types of CJD:


Sporadic CJD tends to develop later in life, usually around the age of 60. Familial CJD onset occurs a little earlier, and vCJD has affected people at a much younger age, usually in their late 20s.


People with familial CJD have a genetic mutation that causes the disease. To develop familial CJD, a child must have one copy of the mutated gene, inherited from one of the parents. If you have a mutation, the chances of transmitting it to your child are 50%.

Exposure to contaminated tissue

People who have received infected artificial human growth hormone, or who have undergone an infected tissue transplant covering the brain (dura mater), may be at risk of developing iatrogenic CJD.

The risk of developing vCJD from eating contaminated meat is very low. In general, if countries implement public health measures effectively, the risk is almost non-existent. Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a prion disease that attacks deer, reindeer, and elk. It has been found in several areas of North America. To date, there have been no documented cases of CWD causing disease in humans.


  • Image: Bo-Yeong Choi1 , Su Yeon Kim1 , So-Young Seo1 , Seong Soo A An2 , SangYun Kim3 , Sang-Eun Park4 , Seung-Han Lee5 , Yun-Ju Choi5 , Sang-Jin Kim6 , Chi-Kyeong Kim1 , Jun-Sun Park1 and Young-Ran Ju, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Video: Soton Brain Hub

Last Updated on April 2, 2021 Reviewed by Market Health Beauty Team

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