Guideline: Test can help make diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

September 19, 2012

A new guideline released by the American Academy of Neurology may help doctors in making the diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The guideline is published in the September 19, 2012, online issue of Neurology.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is a rare, always fatal brain disorder that involves quickly progressing dementia. New cases appear in about one person per million each year worldwide and confirming the is challenging. People with the disease can have a wide range of symptoms. Many other conditions can cause similar symptoms, and with some of these conditions the dementia can be treated.

The guideline focused only on the diagnosis of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

While several tests are available to help diagnose sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a brain biopsy is the most accurate test that can be performed on a person living with the disease. Brain biopsy is potentially dangerous.

The guideline examined the of testing for a protein called 14-3-3 in the spinal fluid. The guideline authors reviewed all of the available evidence on the test, which included samples of 1,849 people with suspected sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease from nine studies.

They found that in cases where doctors strongly suspect Creutzfeldt-Jakob to be the cause of the dementia, the test can be helpful in reducing the of the diagnosis. However, the test is not accurate enough to diagnose the disease with certainty or to rule it out completely. The test has a sensitivity of about 92 percent and a specificity of about 80 percent. Sensitivity is the percentage of patients with the disease who have a positive test result, and specificity is the percentage of patients who do not have the disease and who are correctly identified as having a negative test result.

The guideline determined that the 14-3-3 protein test can be useful when the of the person having Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is between 20 percent and 90 percent.

"This means that if the physician considers the likelihood of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease to be extremely low or extremely high, then testing for 14-3-3 protein would not be useful regardless of the result," said guideline author Taim Muayqil, MBBS, FRCPC, of King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

Muayqil noted that only doctors experienced in diagnosing should determine whether the 14-3-3 test is needed and how results should be interpreted.

Explore further: Creutzfeldt-Jakob, 'Mad Cow' blood test now on the horizon

More information: www.aan.com/guidelines

Related Stories

Creutzfeldt-Jakob, 'Mad Cow' blood test now on the horizon

September 12, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—A simple blood test for Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease and Mad Cow disease is a step closer, following a breakthrough by medical researchers at the University of Melbourne.

AAN: New guideline on how to best treat involuntary movements in Huntington's disease

July 18, 2012
A new guideline released by the American Academy of Neurology recommends several treatments for people with Huntington's disease who experience chorea—jerky, random, uncontrollable movements that can make everyday activities ...

Alzheimer's might be transmissible in similar way as infectious prion diseases: study

October 4, 2011
The brain damage that characterizes Alzheimer's disease may originate in a form similar to that of infectious prion diseases such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow) and Creutzfeldt-Jakob, according to newly published ...

Recommended for you

Brain activity buffers against worsening anxiety

November 17, 2017
Boosting activity in brain areas related to thinking and problem-solving may also buffer against worsening anxiety, suggests a new study by Duke University researchers.

Investigating patterns of degeneration in Alzheimer's disease

November 17, 2017
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is known to cause memory loss and cognitive decline, but other functions of the brain can remain intact. The reasons cells in some brain regions degenerate while others are protected is largely unknown. ...

Study may point to new treatment approach for ASD

November 17, 2017
Using sophisticated genome mining and gene manipulation techniques, researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) have solved a mystery that could lead to a new treatment approach for autism spectrum disorder ...

Neuroscientists find chronic stress skews decisions toward higher-risk options

November 16, 2017
Making decisions is not always easy, especially when choosing between two options that have both positive and negative elements, such as deciding between a job with a high salary but long hours, and a lower-paying job that ...

Paraplegic rats walk and regain feeling after stem cell treatment

November 16, 2017
Engineered tissue containing human stem cells has allowed paraplegic rats to walk independently and regain sensory perception. The implanted rats also show some degree of healing in their spinal cords. The research, published ...

Brain implant tested in human patients found to improve memory recall

November 15, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers with the University of Southern California and the Wake Forest School of Medicine has conducted experiments involving implanting electrodes into the brains of human volunteers to see ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.