BSIP DUCLOUX / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BSIP DUCLOUX / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Artwork of an electroencephalogram (EEG) of a brain infected with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). The brain wave traces are superimposed on a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of a human brain. CJD is a degenerative brain disorder which causes spasms, loss of mental function and death. The EEG traces here (orange) show the sharp, roughly periodic brain activity typical of CJD. It is a very rare disease, but some believe that it can be contracted by eating meat from cows with the analogous disease bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). It is thought to be caused by a prion, a virus-like protein. There is no known cure.
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