The Increasing Number of Sporadic CJD Cases

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The increasing number of cases of sporadic CJD

YouTube Video

The video is also available on Daily Motion


Waldman and Lamb - Dying for a Hamburger - 
Modern Meat Processing and the Epidemic of Alzheimer's Disease and Edinburgh University CJD Figures

Sporadic CJD 2017-

The number of cases of sporadic CJD has doubled since the middle of the 1990s which justifies the enforcement of food safety regulations.

The increase in sporadic CJD in the United Kingdom (December 2016)


An internet review suggests that sporadic CJD is the main type of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in the UK.  It accounts for 85 percent of casesThe NHS website suggests that the cause of the disease is unclear but that it occurs when "a normal brain protein changes abnormally ... and turns into a prion".  The Alzheimer's Association argues that the disease "develops spontaneously for no known reason".  The UCL prion unit states that the disease "occurs 'out of the blue', at random, in the population".  There appears to be a consensus that sporadic CJD has an unknown cause.  The problem with this argument is that there has been a clear increase in the incidence of sporadic CJD as shown in the video.  This increase is unlikely to have occurred by chance.  It would be unwise to argue that all sporadic CJD is not  linked to mad cow disease (BSE).


The consensus argument suggests that the disease occurs in older adults (adults aged between 45 and 75).  However, it has been argued that the UK is seeing cases of sporadic CJD in younger patients (see blog for 28th March 2012).


The implications of sporadic CJD possibly being linked to BSE


It is argued that kuru and other prion diseases that affect humans are "just variants of the same disease (as) all of these diseases consist of a prion infection in the brain" (Waldman and Lamb 2004:204).  If sporadic and variant CJD are similar diseases, with similar causes, then they could be categorised together. If the variant disease is combined, with the sporadic disease, then the total number of official CJD deaths in the UK rises from nearly 200, to nearly 2,000, at the end of 2016.  This is combining the sporadic CJD with the variant CJD.  The figures for CJD would also be higher if 'possible' cases of CJD were included as well as definite and probable cases.




Waldman, M and Lamb, M. (2004), Dying for a Hamburger: Modern Meat Processing and the Epidemic of Alzheimer's Disease, New York:  Thomas Dunne Books