Diffusion-weighted (DWI) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a highly sensitive and specific test for diagnosis of sporadic Jakob-Creutzfeldt disease (sCJD); however, the neuropathologic origin of DWI signal abnormalities including other clinical features has not been well defined. We describe a case of sCJD with brain MRI taken 15 days before death, which provided an opportunity to correlate clinical, electroencephalogram, MRI, and neuropathologic findings to better understand which sCJD-specific neuropathologic changes underlie the DWI abnormalities. Clinical findings correlated well with both electroencephalogram and MRI changes. Neuropathologic analysis showed that hyperintensities on DWI MRI correlated best with the vacuolation score (r=0.78, P=0.0005) and PrPSc load (r=0.77; P=0.0006), followed by reactive astrocytic gliosis (r=0.63, P=0.008). This case provides further evidence that DWI abnormalities correlate well with the clinical features and with PrPSc accumulation and vacuolation.