Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread: Rare Brain Ailment Tough to Spot in US

  1. #1
    Senior Member Max's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Montreal,Province of Quebec, CANADA
    Posts
    15,036

    Rare Brain Ailment Tough to Spot in US

    Rare Brain Ailment Tough to Spot in US
    Tue May 14,10:39 AM ET
    By Meg Bryant

    WASHINGTON (Reuters Health) - All too often, patients in the US with a rare brain-wasting illness similar to the one caused by "mad cow" disease may end up with no one catching on to the cause of their unusual symptoms, researchers reported at the American Geriatrics Society meeting here.


    The condition is called sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (news - web sites) (CJD) and the number of people who die of the disease in the US is low--less than one per million people per year, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (news - web sites). However, researchers at the University of Louisville in Kentucky think it may be more common, yet unrecognized. They reported the case of a 68-year-old woman with the ailment who was initially misdiagnosed.

    Sporadic CJD occurs at random and is not linked to the consumption of meat contaminated by bovine spongiform encephalitis, commonly known as mad cow disease. However, it does share some similarities with new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), the mad cow-related ailment that has killed more than 100 people in Europe, most of them in Great Britain.

    Although similar diseases, sporadic CJD most often strikes at an average age of 65, while the average age for vCJD is 29. Both forms of the disease are fatal, eventually cause spongy holes to form in the brain, and the first symptoms can be mistaken for other ailments.

    In vCJD, severe depression followed by schizophrenia-like delusions and hallucinations are often the first signs of the fatal brain degenerative disorder. In sporadic CJD, the first symptoms are often memory loss and unsteadiness, which can be confused for some other ailment, such as Alzheimer's disease (news - web sites).

    In the case of the 68-year-old woman, her first symptoms were agitation, delusions and loss of coordination. First thought to be experiencing mental illness, the woman was treated with antipsychotics and antidepressants. When those failed to help, she underwent brain scans that indicated a normal-appearing brain. Only an electroencephalogram (EEG)--a measure of the brain's electrical activity--showed characteristic signs of the brain-wasting disease. The patient eventually died.

    Although only a handful of cases are reported in the US each year, difficulty in diagnosing CJD could mean the incidence is actually higher, lead investigator L. K. Tanwani, of the University of Louisville, told Reuters Health. "One of the reasons we're not seeing more cases is that we're not looking for it," he said.

    The diagnosis needs to be confirmed with an autopsy, but the researchers found resistance on the part of the patient's family and concerns by neurosurgeons and pathologists that an autopsy would contaminate the operating room and surgical instruments. In fact, the hospital where the patient died initially refused to perform an autopsy. Even though sporadic CJD occurs at random--and is not thought to be caused by an infectious agent--the brain tissue of people with the disease may pose a small danger to others.

    There have been a few cases in which neurosurgical instruments used on patients or neurological tissue taken from CJD patients have spread the disease to others during operations. However, no such cases have been reported after 1976, when sterilization procedures changed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The World Health Organization (news - web sites) issued a set of guidelines in 1999 for the proper handling of CJD patients after death.

    To improve diagnosis and combat fear and misunderstanding about the disease, the researchers recommend better education of healthcare professionals, patients' families, and funeral homes about the proper handling of CJD patients.

    According to Tanwani, countries like Great Britain, where vCJD cases make the disease in general more common, have begun to develop protocols and in-service training programs for professionals handling CJD patients, and these could become a model for hospitals and funeral homes in the US. "There is a definite need for it (here), at least in the big geriatric centers," he said.


    More from > Health
    Prev. Story: Cancer Rate Falls but Numbers Set to Rise
    Tue May 14,10:41 AM ET - (Reuters)
    Next Story: Stress Hormone in Skin May Trigger Acne, Oily Skin
    Tue May 14,10:39 AM ET - (Reuters)

  2. #2
    Senior Member Max's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Montreal,Province of Quebec, CANADA
    Posts
    15,036

    Deaths of three men prompt Wisconsin to look for connection to fatal brain disease


  3. #3
    Senior Member Max's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Montreal,Province of Quebec, CANADA
    Posts
    15,036

    Officials Probe Wis. Hunters' Deaths

    Officials Probe Wis. Hunters' Deaths
    Thu Sep 12, 7:44 PM ET
    By JENNY PRICE, Associated Press Writer

    MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The brain-destroying illness that killed a man who had eaten venison and elk meat was not a form of chronic wasting disease affecting deer herds, state health officials said Thursday.



    The Division of Public Health has been investigating the deaths of three outdoorsmen to find out whether chronic wasting disease has crossed from animals into humans, just as mad cow disease did in Europe.

    The hunters knew one another and ate elk and deer meat at wild game feasts hosted by one of them in Wisconsin during the 1980s and 1990s. All three died of brain-wasting diseases in the 1990s.

    The test results made public Thursday were for Roger Marten, whose death was attributed to Pick's disease, a more common brain-destroying disorder.

    Marten's brain tissue showed no evidence of the mutant proteins called prions that are associated with chronic wasting disease, said state epidemiologist Jim Kazmierczak.

    There has never been a documented case of a person contracting a brain-destroying illness from eating wild animals with chronic wasting disease.

    The illness is related to mad cow disease in cattle and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease ( news - web sites) in humans. All three diseases are caused by prions, which make spongelike holes in the brain.

    Pathologists with the National Prion Disease Surveillance Center also are testing brain tissue from Marten's acquaintances, James Botts and Wayne Waterhouse.

    Botts and Waterhouse died of what was diagnosed as Creutzfeldt-Jakob, their families said. Creutzfeldt-Jakob is always fatal and occurs in just one in a million people.

    Kazmierczak said the state hoped to have test results for them within a few weeks.

    In February, chronic wasting disease was found in Wisconsin deer, marking the first time it was discovered east of the Mississippi River.

    It was identified in Colorado elk more than three decades ago and is now known to exist in deer or elk in eight states and Canada; thousands of animals are now being slaughtered to contain it.

    ___

    On the Net:

    Department of Health and Family Services: http://www.dhfs.state.wi.us

    National Prion Disease Surveillance Center: http://www.cjdsurveillance.com

    ==============================
    "It has been said that for the truth to exist, it takes two people - one to speak it...and another to hear it. Mankind will be forever doomed to destruction if we continue to ask for the truth...but then refuse to listen.." Outer Limits( To Tell The Truth )



Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •