Unusual features of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease followed-up in a memory clinic

J Neurol. 2014 Apr;261(4):696-701. doi: 10.1007/s00415-014-7246-6. Epub 2014 Jan 30.


Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD) generally manifests itself by cognitive or rapidly progressive motor symptoms. An atypical onset or an unusual evolution may delay the diagnosis. Among patients with a confirmed diagnosis of sCJD following a post-mortem neuropathological examination at the Neuropathology Centre of Lille, France, those who had presented with atypical cognitive disorders at onset were included in the study. Four patients were included. The first patient (64-years-old) presented early language disorders, later accompanied by apathy and behavioral disorders. The prolonged course suggested a diagnosis of progressive primary aphasia. The second patient (68-years-old) presented with aphasia, apraxia, and ataxia of the right upper limb with parkinsonian syndrome, suggesting corticobasal degeneration. In the two last patients (58- and 61-years-old), the onset was marked by an anxiety-depression syndrome, falls, visual hallucinations, extra-pyramidal syndrome, and fluctuating cognitive decline. The diagnosis raised was probable Lewy body dementia. The 14.3.3 protein was found in two of the four cases. The clinical elements found may initially suggest focal atrophy or Lewy body dementia. A very rapid clinical deterioration generally suggests sCJD, but in the last case, the evolution was particularly slow. The diagnosis of sCJD must be considered in cases of rapid-onset dementia, even if all of the clinical criteria are not present. The detection of the 14.3.3 protein and multifold increase in total-Tau with normal or slightly increased phosphorylated-Tau in the CSF are additional arguments to reinforce the diagnosis. The post-mortem neuropathological examination is important to confirm the diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • 14-3-3 Proteins / genetics
  • Autopsy
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome / complications
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome / psychology*
  • Delayed Diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Language Disorders / etiology
  • Language Disorders / psychology
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / etiology
  • Memory Disorders / psychology*
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Prions / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Prions / genetics
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales


  • 14-3-3 Proteins
  • Prions