CDC / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CDC / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Light micrograph of a section through a brain infected with new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (nvCJD). Nuclei (dark dots) of nerve cells are seen, along with circular amyloid plaques (deposit of abnormal protein, centre). The disease is the result of virus-like prions within the brain that cause vacuoles and plaques to form, making the brain spongy and killing off the tissue. Symptoms include dementia and sudden muscle contractions, leading to death. The similarly fatal cattle disease BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) has now been linked to human vCJD.
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