New diagnostic tests for CJD

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 05 October 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:836

Researchers in Germany and the United States have developed a test for diagnosing “mad cow disease” and its human equivalent, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), in living subjects, raising hopes of an end to the slaughter of uninfected cattle and a possible end to the current epidemic.

Currently the only way to confirm a case of CJD or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is at postmortem examination. However, both groups of scientists have built on work initially reported in 1988 which pinpointed the proteins found in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with CJD and animals with spongiform encephalopathies. Eight years later two tests have been developed to detect the characteristic proteins, designated 130 and 131.

In this week's New England Journal of Medicine …

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