Huntington's Disease

By Roshan Nunna

What is Huntington's Disease?

Huntington's disease is a fatal brain disorder that affects a person's ability to think, talk, and move. It was discovered in 1872 by Dr. George Huntington. The disease comes from a mutated HD gene on chromosome #4, which is responsible for creating the protein huntingtin, which is used to deliver packages to the outside of the cell. The disease is a single gene mutation.

Image: MRI Scan of a brain with Huntington's Disease and a brain without Huntington's Disease

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms may include sudden jerks or uncontrolled movements, a need to turn your head and shift your gaze, unsteady walking, difficulty caring for yourself, poor speech, confusion, memory loss, loss of judgement, depression, anxiety, and death caused by fall or pneumonia.

How to get tested

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does this disorder have an efect on someone's life expectancy?

A: Yes, it does, although how much it affects it depends on the person.

Q: Is there a cure?

A: Unfortunately, there is currently no cure. However, there are medications which can help manage the symptoms of Huntington's Disease such as Tetrabenazine (which helps stop the sudden movements), antipsychotics (which help stop the hallucinations), and antidepressants (which help manage depression).

Q: How do you inherit the disease?

A: The disease is a sex-linked trait. If a parent has Huntington's Disease, they have a 50% chance of passing it on to their children.

Q: When are symptoms recognized?

A: Symptoms usually start between the ages of 30-50, and get worse over time.

Image: Words describing Huntington's Disease.

Support Group (HDSA)

Huntington's Disease Society of America (HDSA) is a support group for people with Huntington's Disease. They try to improve the lives of people with Huntington's Disease. They do community service, education, and even research.
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Huntington's Disease Society of America logo.