How is CJD Diagnosed?

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There is no reliable test for Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD).  When a doctor suspects CJD, the first item of business is to exclude treatable forms of dementia such as encephalitis or chronic meningitis.  A neurological exam will be performed.  Standard diagnostic tests include a spinal tap and an electroencephalogram (EEG).

The only way to confirm a diagnosis of CJD is by brain biopsy or autopsy.  In a brain biopsy, a neurosurgeon removes a small piece of tissue from the patient’s brain so that it can be examined by a neuropathologist.  The procedure may be dangerous for the patient, and the operation does not always secure tissue from the affected part of the brain.  Because a correct diagnosis of CJD does not help the person, a brain biopsy is discouraged unless it is needed to rule out a treatable disorder.  In an autopsy, the whole brain is examined after death.  Both the brain biopsy and autopsy pose a small, but definite risk, that the surgeon or others who handles the brain tissue may become accidentally infected by self-inoculation.  Special surgical and disinfection procedures can minimize this risk.  Novant Health d/b/a Forsyth Medical Center recently admitted that it did not follow certain procedures with respect to their handling of instruments used in a patient with suspected CJD.  Consequently, 18 patients were potentially exposed to this fatal disease.  Further links about CJD can be found here:

Links regarding CJD:

If you have potentially been exposed to Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, contact the Law Office of Kevin J. Williams, PLLC, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, at (336)793-8459 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your options.  You may also use the contact form to send Kevin an e-mail.

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Attorney Kevin J. Williams at his desk in his Greensboro North Carolina office.
Attorney Kevin J. Williams at his desk in his Greensboro North Carolina office.

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