Huntington's Disease

Catie Williams

What is Huntington's Disease?

Huntington's Disease is an inherited disease that causes a progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain.

What are the symptoms?

Movement disorders:

  • Involuntary jerking or writhing movements (chorea)
  • Muscle problems such as rigidity or muscle contracture (dystonia)
  • Slow or abnormal eye movements
  • Impaired gait, posture and balance
  • Difficulty with they physical production of speech or swallowing

Cognitive disorders:

  • Difficulty organizing, prioritizing or focusing on tasks
  • Lack of flexibility or the tendency to get stuck on a thought, behavior or action (preservation)
  • Lack of impulse control that can result in outburst, acting without thinking and sexual promiscuity
  • Lack of awareness of one's own behaviors and abilities
  • Slowness in processing thoughts or "finding" words
  • Difficulty in learning new information

Psychiatric disorders:

  • Depression
  • Mania
  • OCD

How is Huntington's disease inherited?

Huntington's disease is a dominant autosomal disorder that is located on Chromosome No. 4. One copy of an altered gene can cause someone to have Huntington's disease. The gene usually comes from one affected parent and in very rare cases someone with Huntington's disease does not have a parent with the disorders.

How is Huntington's disease treated?

There are no treatments for HD, but there are some medications to lesson the symptoms.
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