Stanford Center for Memory Disorders

What is Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease?

Several conditions fall under the term "prion diseases." A prion is a type of protein that can trigger normal proteins in the brain to fold abnormally. Prion diseases can affect both humans and animals and are sometimes transmitted to humans by infected meat products. The most common form of prion disease that affects humans is Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).

Facts about prion diseases

Prion diseases lead to brain damage when prion proteins cause abnormal clumping in the brain. This abnormal accumulation of protein in the brain can cause memory impairment, personality changes, and difficulties with movement. Experts still don't know a lot about prion diseases, but unfortunately, these disorders are generally fatal.

Prion diseases are rare. About 300 cases are reported each year in the U.S.

Types of prion diseases

Types of prion diseases include:

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