Huntington's Disease

HD, Huntington's Chorea

Word Analysis

neurodegeneration- neur/o CF- nerve, de- P- off, away from, gen R- formation,(degenerat/o CF- break down) , -ion S- process

definition: process of damage to nerve cells

dystonia- dys- P- difficult, ton R- tone, tension, -ia S-condition of,

definition: an impairment of muscle contraction

autosomal- auto- P- self, som R- body, -al S- pertaining to

definition: pertaining to any of the 22 chromosomes of a human

dysphagia- dys- P- difficult, -phagia S- swallowing

definition: difficulty swallowing

aspiration- aspirat/o CF- to draw in, -ion S- process

definition: the process of drawing in a breath


Huntington's disease is a degeneration of neural synapses (B. Carrol). The disease usually shows itself in males and females between the age of 40 and 65, usually after having children if female. However, it can become apparent between infancy and adolescence. Huntington’s disease affects both mental and physical health. Coordination, cognition, and behavior control decline as the disease progresses. (Walker, Francis) According to Mayo Clinic, coordination complications include “chorea, dystonia, slow or abnormal eye movements, impaired gait, posture and balance and difficulty with speech.” Disorganized thoughts, difficulty focusing, lack of impulse control and awareness, and difficulty understanding words are examples of cognitive issues. Behavioral difficulties consists of loss of social competence and drop in over-all performance (Mayo Clinic Staff). Inanition, dysphagia, aspiration, or a complication of falls are the usual causes of death. (Walker, Francis) Huntington’s disease is hereditary through a defect of a single gene that can be received from either parent (B. Carrol). It is categorized as an autosomal dominant disorder (Mestre, Tiago).

Medical treatment for HD hasn't made much progress. Drugs are usually prescribed to control involuntary movements and other physical symptoms. However, as the affected declines, increase in the drugs can cause bradykinesia, rigidity, and depression or sedation. Counseling with a psychologist is also recommended. Behavioral issues sometime can only be treated by acknowledging the difficulties. (Walker, Francis) Several drugs are under testing and scientist hope to find a way to cure Huntington’s disease.


Website- Proquest: URL:

Walker, Francis O. "Huntington's Disease." ProQuest. N.p., 26 Jan. 2007. Web. Oct. 2015.

Website- EBSCOhost: URL:

Mestre, Tiago. "Huntington's Disease." EBSCO Host. N.p., 08 July 2009. Web. Oct. 2015

Website- PubMed: URL:

B. Carrol J. "Treating the Whole Body in Huntington's Disease." National Center for

Biottechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 14 Nov. 2015. Web. Oct. 2015.

Website- Mayo Clinic: URL:

Mayo Clinic Staff. "Huntington's Disease.' -Mayo Clinic. N.p., 24 July 2015. Web. Oct. 2015