WHAT IS HUNTINGTON DISEASE?
Huntington disease is an inheritable dominant progressive brain disorder that causes uncontrolled movements, emotional problems and loss of thinking ability. It affects the part of the brain that controls thinking, emotion and movement. The most common form of this disorder usually appears in a person’s 40’s and 50’s. Huntington disease affects an estimated 3 to 7 per 100,000 people. It affects both men and women equally. The disorder appears to be less common in some other populations, including people of Japanese, Chinese, and African descent.
WHAT CAUSES HUNTINGTON DISEASE?
Huntington disease is caused by a genetic defect on chromosome number 4. The defect causes a part of DNA called a GAG repeat, to occur many more times than it is supposed to. The gene, which produces a protein called Huntington, was discovered in 1993. An affected person usually inherits the altered gene from one affected parent. There is a 50% (1 in 2) chance at each pregnancy that a child of an affected parent will receive the gene for Huntington disease.
There's no cure for Huntington disease, but supportive care can ease many symptoms and help a person with Huntington's disease and their family, lead as normal a life as possible. Drugs can relieve symptoms of reflex movements, depression and mood swings. A high-calorie diet can help maintain weight and improve symptoms such as involuntary movement and behavioural problems. Speech therapy can help improve speech and swallowing problems. The disease is also progressive, and as there are no available methods of slowing its progression, symptoms are treated as and when they arise. WHO DOES IT AFFECT
There is always one person in every ten thousand that has Huntington's disease. At that ratio there are almost thirty thousand with the disease in the United States alone. Each child of a Huntington's disease patient has a 50% chance of inheriting the disease, which means...