Creutzfeldt–Jakob or CJD is a degenerative neurological disease that is incurable and invariably fatal. CJD is at times called a human form of mad cow disease. CJD is caused by an agent called a prion. Prions are misfolded proteins that replicate by converting their properly folded counterparts, in their host, to the same misfolded structure they possess. CJD causes the brain tissue to degenerate rapidly, and as the disease destroys the brain, the brain develops holes and the texture changes to resemble that of a kitchen sponge. The first symptom of CJD is rapidly progressive dementia, leading to memory loss, personality changes, and hallucinations. Other frequently occurring features include anxiety, depression, paranoia, obsessive-compulsive symptoms, and psychosis.
The annual incidence rate was 0.49 per million population for males and 0.68 for females. The age-specific incidence rate was highest among those 70-79 years of age, followed by the 60-69, and 50-59 age groups. A nationwide incidence survey of CJD in Japan revealed the incidence and distribution of the disease over the recent decade. It was found that the incidence and mortality rates had increased.
No generally accepted treatment for CJD exists; the disease is invariably fatal and research continues. Amphotericin B and Doxorubicin have been investigated as potentially effective against CJD, but as yet there is no strong evidence that either drug is effective in stopping the disease. Further study has been taken with other medical drugs, but none are effective. However, drugs to reduce suffering do exist, and include valproate, an anticonvulsant agent, clonazepam and benzodiazepine, to reduce muscle jerks.
The ongoing researches in Japan on Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease include: Temporal and regional variations in sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in Japan, Insight into the frequent occurrence of dura mater graft-associated Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in Japan.