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% 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)
- About Huntington's Disease (National Human Genome Research Institute)
- Huntington disease-like syndrome: MedlinePlus Genetics (National Library of Medicine)
- Huntington disease: MedlinePlus Genetics (National Library of Medicine)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Huntington Disease (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Assessment of Diagnosis, Prognosis and Immune Infiltration Response to the Expression...
- Article: Salivary Huntingtin protein is uniquely associated with clinical features of Huntington's...
- Article: Uncovering the mechanism for aggregation in repeat expanded RNA reveals a...
- Huntington's Disease -- see more articles
- Brain Basics: The Life and Death of a Neuron (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)
- Juvenile Onset HD (Huntington's Disease Society of America) - PDF