As with other causes of dementia, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease profoundly affects the brain as well as the body, although CJD and its variants usually progress much more rapidly. People with CJD usually withdraw from friends and family and eventually lose the ability to recognize or relate to them in any meaningful way. They also lose the ability to care for themselves, and many eventually slip into a coma. The disease ultimately is fatal.
Physical complications, all of which may become life-threatening, include:
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- Heart failure
- Respiratory failure
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/cjd/detail_cjd.htm. Accessed July 2, 2012.
- vCJD (variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/vcjd/factsheet_nvcjd.htm. Accessed July 2, 2012.
- Imran M, et al. An overview of human prion diseases. Virology Journal. 2011;8:559.
- Zerr I, et al. Updated clinical diagnostic criteria for sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Brain. 2009;132:2659.
- Rosenbloom MH, et al. The evaluation of rapidly progressive dementia. Neurologist. 2011;17:67.
- Greenberg DA, et al. Clinical Neurology. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2009. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=5143601. Accessed July 2, 2012.
- McPhee SJ, et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2012. 51st ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=17051. Accessed July 2, 2012.
- WHO infection control guidelines for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/csr/resources/publications/bse/WHO_CDS_CSR_APH_2000_3/en/. Accessed July 3, 2012.
- Vaccines and variant CJD (vCDJ) questions and answers. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/QuestionsAnswers/ucm173909.htm?utm_campaign=Google2&utm_source=fdaSearch&utm_medium=website&utm_term=Insulin,%20vCJD&utm_content=10. Accessed July 3, 2012.
- Questions and answers on importing beef or pork insulin for personal use. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/Vaccines/QuestionsaboutVaccines/ucm143522.htm - 12k - 2009-04-29. Accessed July 3, 2012.
- Current thinking on measures that could be implemented to minimize human exposure to materials that could potentially contain the bovine spongiform encephalopathy agent. http://www.fsis.usda.gov/oa/topics/bse_thinking.htm. Accessed July 3, 2012.
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