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Home / Health / A mysterious brain disease that causes hallucinations and chipped teeth has infected dozens of Canadians. Experts are not sure why

A mysterious brain disease that causes hallucinations and chipped teeth has infected dozens of Canadians. Experts are not sure why



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  • Researchers believe that five people have died from this disease.

  • The memo leaked by the health official asked doctors to pay attention to the symptoms of brain disease.

  • This unknown encephalopathy can cause hallucinations, memory loss, cramps, muscle wasting and broken teeth.

  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

At least 43 people in New Brunswick, Canada have suffered from an unknown brain disease that causes cramps, memory loss and hallucinations. Doctors are frustrated by this.

Public health officials believe that five people in the so-called “cluster” have died of the disease since the first case was detected in 2015.

Michael Coulthart, head of the Canadian CJD surveillance network, told the Guardian: “In the past 20 years, we have not seen such a neurological disease with strong diagnostic capabilities.”

This month, Radio Canada and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) got a leaked memo, which was sent from the province’s public health agency to local doctors before the disease was discovered.

The memo tells doctors to pay attention to patients with the rare Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease (blurred vision, hallucinations, or disorientation), but the test ruled out Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

The patient has cramps first, then drools and breaks teeth

Dr. Alier Marrero, a neurologist who led the investigation in New Brunswick, said the patient first experienced pain, cramps and behavior changes. However, since these symptoms are related to many health conditions, this is not a big problem.

Over the next 18 to 36 months, symptoms gradually developed into cognitive impairment, muscle wasting, drooling, and broken teeth. Some of these patients also have disturbing hallucinations, such as insects crawling on their skin.

Marrero conducted a series of tests-brain imaging, spinal taps and toxicology tests-to ensure that the brain disease is not a known neurodegenerative disease.

Researchers are looking for answers

Researchers are collaborating with different national groups and various health experts to find out what it is and how it is caused, including studying the local environment.

Valerie Sim, a neurodegenerative disease researcher at the University of Alberta, told the Guardian that it is not common for brain diseases to have such a wide range of common symptoms. There are usually some key signs.

Sim said that in general, “there is not enough information” to draw any conclusions.

Read the original article about Insider


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