Huntington's disease

By Megan Kelly

Basic Information

Huntington's disease is a disorder passed down from parents to their children. HD is when nerve cells in parts of the brain degenerate. This disorder normally effects someone between the age of 30-50 but symptoms have been seen in children as young as two years old.


Huntington's disease has many symptoms, for example changes in personality, paranoia, hallucinations, loss of memory and judgment. Later on in the disease you start to lose control of your movement. Daily life for someone with HD is tough, especially as the disorder progresses. They usually need assistance with daily tasks and if it gets really bad, they need 24/7 care. The life expectancy is 10-20 years after you get the disorder, however if a child gets it they most likely won't live to adulthood.
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It is caused by a genetic defeat on chromosome 4. During CAG repeat, normally is repeated 10 to 28 times while a person with HD is 36 to 120 times.
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HD is fatal, meaning there is no cure. However they have some treatments that ease the problems. Dopamine blockers may help reduce behaviors and movements. Amantadine and tetrabenazine are used to try to control extra movements, 24 hour care is a form of treatment as well.
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Other facts

- When one parent has HD the child has a 50% chance of getting it.

- If both parents have HD the child will have HD.

- it is named after Dr. George Huntington, an American physician who was first to publish description of the symptoms in an article.