MR is indicated for mad cow disease diagnosis

February 7, 2005

MR imaging should be included among the World Health Organization's options for diagnosing sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD), which is associated with exposure to mad cow disease, according to Dr. Henriette Tschampa and colleagues at the Clinical University of Bonn, Germany.

MR imaging should be included among the World Health Organization's options for diagnosing sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD), which is associated with exposure to mad cow disease, according to Dr. Henriette Tschampa and colleagues at the Clinical University of Bonn, Germany.

The researchers enrolled 193 consecutive patients suspected of having the condition. In 442 scans, MR's sensitivity and specificity were nearly 70% and 85%, respectively, in patients with a clinical or postmortem sCJD diagnosis. Sensitivity and specificity for EEG and 14-3-3 protein analysis were 32% and 94%, and 91% and 44%, respectively, they reported at the RSNA meeting.

Even though interpretation of MR scans may require some effort, the modality provides useful information that could narrow down an sCJD diagnosis. In addition, it is noninvasive and has an edge over diagnostic alternatives plagued by high false-positive rates, Tschampa said.

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