Huntington's disease (HD) is an inherited disease that causes certain nerve cells in the brain to waste away. People are born with the defective gene, but symptoms usually don't appear until middle age. Early symptoms of HD may include uncontrolled movements, clumsiness, and balance problems. Later, HD can take away the ability to walk, talk, and swallow. Some people stop recognizing family members. Others are aware of their environment and are able to express emotions.
If one of your parents has Huntington's disease, you have a 50 percent chance of getting it. A blood test can tell you if have the HD gene and will develop the disease. Genetic counseling can help you weigh the risks and benefits of taking the test.
There is no cure. Medicines can help manage some of the symptoms, but cannot slow down or stop the disease.
NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Diagnosis and Tests
- Huntington's Disease (HD): Genetic Testing and Family Planning (Huntington's Disease Society of America)
- Long Term Care (Huntington's Disease Society of America)
- Huntington disease-like syndrome: MedlinePlus Genetics (National Library of Medicine)
- Huntington disease: MedlinePlus Genetics (National Library of Medicine)
- Learning about Huntington's Disease (National Human Genome Research Institute)
Videos and Tutorials
- What Is Huntington Disease? (Dolan DNA Learning Center)
Statistics and Research
- Scientists adopt new strategy to find Huntington's disease therapies (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Huntington Disease (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Life and Death of a Neuron (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)
- Juvenile Onset HD (Huntington's Disease Society of America) - PDF