The eyes can indicate a fatal brain disease
A recent study on a particularly fatal brain disease found that doctors may be able to identify the condition by looking at someone's eyes. They also found that the eyes of an infected individual can even act as a vehicle for the spread of the disease.
The University of California scientists found in their current investigation that the only way to diagnose a fatal disease is to look at the eyes of those affected. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "mBio".
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is fatal
For our so-called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) there is no cure or effective treatment in spite of our modern medicine. The disease only occurs rarely, but unfortunately ends with the death of every affected person, the experts explain. The eyes of an infected individual can act as a carrier for the spread of the disease, and it is also possible to identify a disease by simply looking at the eyes, the doctors say.
Eating squirrels infected man with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
A few months ago, a medical journal reported a case of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease related to squirrel consumption. CJK is a rare disease that causes certain proteins to misfold in the brain. This deposit of atypical protein fragments is called prions. They cause lesions in the brain and sponge-like destruction of the brain tissue. In this particular case, it was believed that the patient's disease was the result of eating squirrel meat that had come into contact with the animal's brain matter.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease can be transmitted via the eyes?
Other cases have already shown that consuming brain matter can lead to the spread of the disease, but new research suggests that an infected person's eyes also carry prions. This is particularly a concern for people in the field of eye care. Doctors who perform eye surgery can spread prions when medical devices are contaminated and this is not noticed. A total of eleven patients who died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease were examined for prions. The number of prions found was quite high, according to the doctors. Most of the so-called prion seeds were found in the retina of each eye, but prions were also found in many other parts of the eye, such as the lens, optic nerve, and even the surrounding muscles.
Prions also transferable through our tears?
In the future, the researchers hope that they can examine the tears of patients with Creutzfeldt-Jakob more closely. They want to determine whether there are prions in the drainage of the fluid from the eyes, which could also lead to the spread of the disease. (as)