Huntington’s disease

Overview

Huntington’s disease causes uncontrolled movements, loss of intellectual faculties, and emotional disturbance and is the result of genetically programmed degeneration of brain cells, called neurons, in certain areas of the brain. It is a hereditary condition, passed down generations through a mutation in the normal gene. The disease is an autosomal dominant disorder, which means that a person needs only one copy of the defective gene to develop the disorder. With the exception of genes on the sex chromosomes, a person inherits two copies of every gene — one copy from each parent.

A parent with a defective Huntington gene could pass along the defective copy of the gene or the healthy copy. Each child in the family, therefore, has a 50 percent chance of inheriting the gene that causes the genetic disorder.Those who do not inherit the HD genewill not develop the disease and cannot pass it on to subsequent generations. As the disease progresses, concentration on intellectual tasks becomes increasingly difficult and the patient may have difficulty eating and swallowing. The rate of disease progression and the age of onset vary from person to

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