Diagnostic Tests for Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease


advertisement

Diagnostic Test list for Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease: The list of diagnostic tests mentioned in various sources as used in the diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease includes:

  • There are no good diagnostic tests for CJD, but rather a process of ruling out other diagnoses
  • Spinal tap - rules out other causes
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG) - rules out other causes
  • MRI brain scans
  • Brain biopsy
  • Autopsy - CJD can be diagnosed after death.

Tests and diagnosis discussion for Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease: There is currently no single diagnostic test for CJD. When a doctor suspects CJD, the first concern is to rule out treatable forms of dementia such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or chronic meningitis. A neurological examination will be performed and the doctor may seek consultation with other physicians. Standard diagnostic tests will include a spinal tap to rule out more common causes of dementia and an electroencephalogram (EEG) to record the brain's electrical pattern, which can be particularly valuable because it shows a specific type of abnormality in CJD. Computerized tomography of the brain can help rule out the possibility that the symptoms result from other problems such as stroke or a brain tumor. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans also can reveal characteristic patterns of brain degeneration that can help diagnose CJD.

The only way to confirm a diagnosis of CJD is by brain biopsy or autopsy. In a brain biopsy, a neurosurgeon removes a small piece of tissue from the patient's brain so that it can be examined by a neuropathologist. This procedure may be dangerous for the patient, and the operation does not always obtain tissue from the affected part of the brain. Because a correct diagnosis of CJD does not help the patient, a brain biopsy is discouraged unless it is needed to rule out a treatable disorder. In an autopsy, the whole brain is examined after death. 1

There is currently no single diagnostic test for CJD. The first concern is to rule out treatable forms of dementia such as encephalitis or chronic meningitis. The only way to confirm a diagnosis of CJD is by brain biopsy or autopsy. In a brain biopsy, a neurosurgeon removes a small piece of tissue from the patient's brain so that is can be examined by a neurologist. Because a correct diagnosis of CJD does not help the patient, a brain biopsy is discouraged unless it is need to rule out a treatable disorder. 2

In 1996, researchers developed a test that helps doctors diagnose CJD in patients with symptoms. Before, when a patient had CJD symptoms, only a brain biopsy, which requires major surgery, could confirm the diagnosis. Now doctors can detect an abnormal protein in a sample of spinal fluid. It is much easier to take a sample of spinal fluid for diagnosis than to do a brain biopsy. However, this test cannot be used to identify patients without symptoms or to predict who may develop CJD in the future. 3

In a recent issue of Lancet, British researchers reported success using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to diagnose variant CJD in people with symptoms of the disease. (View the article. ) Further studies will show whether MRI proves useful in diagnosing other forms of CJD. 3

Footnotes:
1. excerpt from Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Fact Sheet: NINDS
2. excerpt from NINDS Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Information Page: NINDS
3. excerpt from Update Follow-Up Study of NHPP Growth Hormone Recipients: NIDDK

Last revision: May 26, 2003

Medical Tools & Articles:


Next articles:

Medical Articles:
 
 
CureResearch.comTM Copyright © 2010 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved.
Home | Contents | Search | Site Map | Feedback | Contact Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | About Us | Advertise