Three cases of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease presenting with a predominant dysexecutive syndrome

Nick Corriveau-Lecavalier, Wentao Li, Vijay K. Ramanan, Daniel A. Drubach, Gregory S. Day, David T. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD) is a rare, uniformly fatal prion disease. Although CJD commonly presents with rapidly progressive dementia, ataxia, and myoclonus, substantial clinicopathological heterogeneity is observed in clinical practice. Unusual and predominantly cognitive clinical manifestations of CJD mimicking common dementia syndromes are known to pose as an obstacle to early diagnosis and prognosis. We report a series of three patients with probable or definite CJD (one male and two females, ages 52, 58 and 68) who presented to our tertiary behavioral neurology clinic at Mayo Clinic Rochester that met criteria for a newly defined progressive dysexecutive syndrome. Glucose hypometabolism patterns assessed by 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) strongly resembled those of dysexecutive variant of Alzheimer’s disease (dAD). However, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) demonstrated restricted diffusion in neocortical areas and deep nuclei, while cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers indicated abnormal levels of 14-3-3, total-tau, and prion seeding activity (RT-QuIC), establishing the diagnosis of CJD. Electroencephalogram (EEG) additionally revealed features previously documented in atypical cases of CJD. This series of clinical cases demonstrates that CJD can present with a predominantly dysexecutive syndrome and FDG-PET hypometabolism typically seen in dAD. This prompts for the need to integrate information on clinical course with multimodal imaging and fluid biomarkers to provide a precise etiology for dementia syndromes. This has important clinical implications for the diagnosis and prognosis of CJD in the context of emerging clinical characterization of progressive dysexecutive syndromes in neurodegenerative diseases like dAD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4222-4228
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Atypical dementia
  • Behavioral neurology
  • Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease
  • Dysexecutive syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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