Tonsil test for CJD

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The Independent Online
Doctors may be able to make an early diagnosis of the new strain of the brain disorder Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) by examining tonsil tissue, using a new test devised by British scientists.

The "new variant" of CJD, which is thought to be caused by eating food contaminated with BSE, or mad cow disease, has so far affected 15 people in the UK.

Previously, the diagnosis has had to be made after death or by a brain biopsy, which is expensive and can be dangerous to the patient.

The new test, reported in the Lancet, follows work by John Collinge at St Mary's Medical School in London and the CJD Surveillance Unit in Edinburgh