Mayo Clinic researchers and collaborators have identified key clinical findings that can help clinicians recognize patients with potentially treatable causes of rapidly progressive dementia, who would otherwise be misdiagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (also known as CJD). Their study was published online in Neurology Clinical Practice, an official journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
According to Mayo Clinic researchers, several conditions can mimic CJD, with symptoms that include personality changes, memory loss, seizures, difficulty speaking or swallowing, and sudden, jerky movements. The disease is rare, has no cure and has a median survival of less than a year. Several immune, vascular and neurodegenerative diseases have similar symptoms, and a small subset of patients can be misdiagnosed with CJD. After presenting with symptoms, many of these patients seek tests for CJD at specialized centers and wait several days, or even weeks, for results.
"That is lost time," says Gregory Day, M.D., a neurologist at Mayo Clinic in Florida, and corresponding author of the paper. "There is an unmet patient need for us to leverage clinical features and rapid tests to distinguish patients with rapidly progressing dementia due to CJD from its mimics. This need is all the more pressing, recognizing that some diseases that mimic CJD may be treatable and, in some cases, reversible."
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