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 training can improve our understanding of speech in noisy places

October 19, 2017
For many people with hearing challenges, trying to follow a conversation in a crowded restaurant or other noisy venue is a major struggle, even with hearing aids. Now researchers reporting in Current Biology on October 19th ...

Investigating the most common genetic contributor to Parkinson's disease

October 19, 2017
LRRK2 gene mutations are the most common genetic cause of Parkinson's disease (PD), but the normal physiological role of this gene in the brain remains unclear. In a paper published in Neuron, Brigham and Women's Hospital ...

Brain takes seconds to switch modes during tasks

October 19, 2017
The brain rapidly switches between operational modes in response to tasks and what is replayed can predict how well a task will be completed, according to a new UCL study in rats.

Researchers find shifting relationship between flexibility, modularity in the brain

October 19, 2017
A new study by Rice University researchers takes a step toward what they see as key to the advance of neuroscience: a better understanding of the relationship between the brain's flexibility and its modularity.

New procedure enables cultivation of human brain sections in the petri dish

October 19, 2017
Researchers at the University of Tübingen have become the first to keep human brain tissue alive outside the body for several weeks. The researchers, headed by Dr. Niklas Schwarz, Dr. Henner Koch and Dr. Thomas Wuttke at ...

Want to control your dreams? Here's how

October 19, 2017
New research at the University of Adelaide has found that a specific combination of techniques will increase people's chances of having lucid dreams, in which the dreamer is aware they're dreaming while it's still happening ...

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.