Mad Cow Disease and Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob (cont.)
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Diagnosis of Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
A health-care professional would do initial testing similar to checking for dementia -- looking for progressive deterioration of the patient's ability to think and control movement.
Treatment of Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
Patients may be asked to stop taking any medications that could affect memory or cause confusion. A doctor may refer a person to specialists in neurology and infectious diseases, and the doctor will provide medications to ease symptoms. If patients develop seizures, for example, they may be given drugs to help control them.
But the reality is that all prion diseases cause death. There are no effective treatments available. Progression from symptoms to diagnosis to death may be rapid (from eight months for sporadic CJD to up to 60 months for GSS).
Continuing laboratory testing is looking at a number of medications to prevent development of prion disease in animals. Work continues on experimental vaccines to delay or prevent the effects of prion disease.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/18/2014
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Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease, and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) are related disorders.