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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Clinical update of Jakob-Creutzfeldt disease

  • Author(s): Kim, MO
  • Geschwind, MD
  • et al.

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© 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. The present review discusses recent clinical data on diagnosis, new forms, and treatment of human prion diseases, and briefly summarizes research suggesting prion-like mechanismsin other neurodegenerative diseases. Recent findings When proper sequences are performed, MRI has high diagnostic utility in prion disease, but there are issues with interpretation of images. The spectrum of MRI's utility for diagnosis and understanding human prion disease is still being explored. Two recent diffusion tensor imaging studies quantified changes in the gray and white matter in sporadic Jakob-Creutzfeldt disease, with unexpected results. The diagnostic utility of cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers has been controversial. A few studies showed that amplification methods can detect prions in either cerebrospinal fluid, olfactory epithelium, blood and/or urine in various human prion diseases. Additional cases of variably protease-sensitive prionopathy have led to a broader understanding of this novel sporadic prion disease. A few new mutations causing genetic prion disease, one with a very atypical presentation, have been identified. Although recent human prion disease treatment trials did not show benefit, they have improved our understanding, and led to better quantification, of the progression of these disorders. Lastly, we briefly summarize the increasing evidence that many nonprion neurodegenerative proteinopathies might spread in the brain by a prion-like mechanism. Summary New prion detection methods appear promising, but need to be replicated with larger sample sizes. Identification of novel forms of human prion disease might better elucidate the full spectrum of prion diseases and expand our understanding of their pathogenesis.

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