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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Pathologist dies of suspected Creutzfeldt-Jakob (Mad cow) disease

29 March, 2009 03:33:00 Kathlyn Stone

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (mad cow) research pathologist Antonio Ruiz Villaescusa died Sat., March 28, from the disease. Colleagues suspect he may have contracted the disease from exposure to infected human tissue, according to the Barcelona Reporter newspaper.

Ruiz headed the department of pathology at the University Hospital in Madrid and was studying whether the disease is passed on to people who have been exposed to infected tissue.

The head of the pathology department at the Fundación Alcorcón, Dr. Radish, will perform an autopsy to clarify the cause of death and the final results will be announced in about a month, according to the Spanish news site.

Ruiz was recognized internationally for his study in the fields of neuropathology and anatomopatología, and devoted much of his professional life to the study of human transmissible spongiform encephalopathy.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is a rare and invariably fatal brain disorder, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. There is currently no single diagnostic test for the disease. The only way to confirm a Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease diagnosis is by brain biopsy or autopsy.

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