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BMJ. 2002 Jun 22;324(7352):1479-82.

First hundred cases of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: retrospective case note review of early psychiatric and neurological features.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge CB2 2QQ, UK. r.g.will@ed.ac.uk

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To describe the early psychiatric and neurological features of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

DESIGN:

Cohort study.

SETTING:

National surveillance system for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in the United Kingdom.

PARTICIPANTS:

The first 100 cases of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease identified in the United Kingdom.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

The timing and nature of early psychiatric and neurological symptoms in variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

RESULTS:

The early stages of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease are dominated by psychiatric symptoms, but neurological symptoms precede psychiatric symptoms in 15% of cases and are present in combination with psychiatric symptoms in 22% of cases from the onset of disease. Common early psychiatric features include dysphoria, withdrawal, anxiety, insomnia, and loss of interest. No common early neurological features exist, but a significant proportion of patients do exhibit neurological symptoms within 4 months of clinical onset, including poor memory, pain, sensory symptoms, unsteadiness of gait, and dysarthria.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although the diagnosis of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease may be impossible in the early stages of the illness, particular combinations of psychiatric and neurological features may allow early diagnosis in an appreciable proportion of patients.

PMID:
12077031
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC116442
Free PMC Article

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