Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Description Creutzfeldt or Jakob’s disease is a brain disorder that leads to dementia and eventually death. The disease is degenerative which is the progressive impairment of structural and functional parts of the body. Location Creutzfeldt-Jakob’s Disease can be found worldwide. It is fairly rare with only one diagnosed case per million people every year. Cause It is believed that the cause of Creutzfeldt-Jakob’s Disease is abnormal versions of a protein called prion. Prion becomes infectious and disturbs normal biological process. Fortunately, the risk of having this disease is rare and it is not contagious by normal contact. There have been some instances of infection by skin transplants, also known as iatrogenic CJD. Variant CJD is related to eating infected beef with BSE (mad cow disease). Causes can also be related to family history or by chance. Symptoms Symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob’s Disease are similar to other brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. Others include: impaired thinking, depression, anxiety, insomnia, difficulty speaking, memory loss, and changes in personality. Symptoms will worsen over time. Treatment Unfortunately, there is no cure for Creutzfeldt-Jakob’s Disease. There are drugs that can help reduce pain and other symptoms in hopes to make the patient feel comfortable. Prevention There is no way to prevent sporadic CJD and if you have a family history that puts you at a higher risk, you could talk to a genetics expert. Medical establishments follow strict policies for safety and prevention of iatrogenic CJD. Handling Animals There is no cure for BSE or Mad Cow Disease. Ways to prevent BSE are avoiding, isolating and destroying any infected animal. Other Facts In the United States, only 3 cows have been reported to have Mad Cow Disease, whereas in Canada there have been 19 reported cases.