'Rare' brain disorder may not be so rare anymore, trends in japan reveal

October 19, 2020

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a debilitating disorder that causes rapid degeneration of the brain as well as progressing dementia. It is a fatal disorder, often leading to death within just several years of the onset. CJD is the most common form of a human disorder caused by "prions," pathogenic agents that induce abnormal folding of specific cellular proteins in the brain called "prion proteins." The major type of CJD, accounting for 85% of the cases, is called sporadic CJD (sCJD). Because sCJD mainly occurs in late-middle old age, an increase in the aging population worldwide can potentially cause a rise in CJD cases, which is a pressing global concern. Thus, to help policymakers plan ahead and establish a robust strategy, it is essential to estimate the trends of CJD-associated deaths and incidence.

To this end, a team of researchers at Okayama University, including Dr Yoshito Nishimura, Dr Toshihiro Koyama, and Dr Hideharu Hagiya, conducted a trend analysis of the incidence and mortality of CJD in Japan, between 2005 and 2014. Their findings are published in Scientific Reports, a Nature Research journal. Dr Nishimura, the first author of this study, says, "Despite CJD being a rare disease, the phenomenon of population aging may trigger a rise in the incidence and, thus, the socioeconomic and healthcare burden of CJD. Our aim was to analyze these trends, in an effort to spread awareness and spur new treatment strategies."

For their analysis, the scientists used national vital statistics data on CJD-associated deaths among individuals aged over 50 years as well as the government-funded nationwide CJD surveillance data (from 2005 to 2014) in Japan. Their analysis revealed that, from 2005 to 2014, there was a significant increase in the absolute number of deaths, mortality rates, and incidence rates associated with CJD, even after adjusting for age. In particular, the average increase in incidence was estimated to be 6.4% per year. This trend in CJD-associated mortality and incidence rates was especially prominent in the older-age group, particularly in those over the age of 70 years. Although a previous report by the Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease International Surveillance Network had stated that annual death rates of sCJD had risen in most participating countries in the past two decades, this study shows that Japan might have had higher CJD-associated deaths and incidence than other countries, which the scientists attributed to a rise in the aging population. Dr Nishimura says, "The severe socioeconomic burden on caregivers due to CJD-induced dementia warrant the attention of policymakers and stress the need for a mitigative action plan with particular focus on the increase in the prevalence of dementia. In this regard, we hope that our findings can help to guide policymakers in the right direction."

In 2015, more than 4.7 million people in Japan were living with dementia, and this number is projected to rapidly increase to 7 million by 2025. Contrary to other forms of dementia, which progress relatively slowly, patients with CJD suffer from rapidly progressing dementia. Thus, there is an urgent need to find effective strategies to improve their quality of lives and reduce the burden on caregivers. The findings of this study take a step in this direction, by shedding light on the need for effective policy measures. Dr Nishimura concludes, "CJD, albeit rare, will be more prevalent in the next 5-10 years. Policymakers and health authorities can make use of our findings to establish effective health policies."

Okayama University

Related Dementia Articles from Brightsurf:

The danger of Z-drugs for dementia patients
Strong sleeping pills known as 'Z-drugs' are linked with an increased risk of falls, fractures and stroke among people with dementia, according to new research.

The long road to dementia
Alzheimer's disease develops over decades. It begins with a fatal chain reaction in which masses of misfolded beta-amyloid proteins are produced that in the end literally flood the brain.

Why people with dementia go missing
People with dementia are more likely to go missing in areas where road networks are dense, complicated and disordered - according to new research from the University of East Anglia.

PTSD may double risk of dementia
People who have experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are up to twice as likely to develop dementia later in life, according to a new study by UCL researchers, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Dementia education
School-based dementia education could deliver much needed empathy and understanding for older generations as new research from the University of South Australia shows it can significantly improve dementia knowledge and awareness among younger generations.

Building dementia friendly churches
A project to help church communities become more 'dementia friendly' has had a significant impact across the country.

A "feeling" for dementia?
A research team led by the DZNE concludes that personal perception can be an important indicator for the early detection of Alzheimer's disease.

New biomarker for dementia diagnosis
Medical researchers in the UK and Australia have identified a new marker which could support the search for novel preventative and therapeutic treatments for dementia.

Digital solutions for dementia care
Telehealth delivery of dementia care in the home can be as effective as face-to-face home visit services if carers and recipients take advantage of the technologies available, Australian researchers say.

Despite a marked reduction in the prevalence of dementia, the number of people with dementia is set to double by 2050 according to new Alzheimer Europe report
Today, at a European Parliament lunch debate, Alzheimer Europe launched a new report presenting the findings of its collaborative analysis of recent prevalence studies and setting out updated prevalence rates for dementia in Europe.

Read More: Dementia News and Dementia Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.