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What’s the only way to know for sure that someone has Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD)?

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The only way to know for sure someone has CJD is by taking a sample (called a biopsy) of brain tissue, or by autopsy. Doctors don’t usually biopsy brain tissue, because it’s risky. It’s hard to target which tissue in the brain is infected, so doing a biopsy may not give helpful information. And it puts the doctor at risk of getting the disease.

Since a positive diagnosis doesn't help someone with CJD, doctors often confirm cases only after someone dies of it.

From: Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: “Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Fact Sheet.”

Alzheimer’s Association: “Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.”

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Foundation: “CJD Fact Sheet.”

CDC: “CJD (Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, Classic).”

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on November 28, 2018

SOURCES:

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: “Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Fact Sheet.”

Alzheimer’s Association: “Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.”

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Foundation: “CJD Fact Sheet.”

CDC: “CJD (Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, Classic).”

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on November 28, 2018

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