Huntington's Disease Overview: Huntington's disease is an inherited, progressive brain disorder that causes involuntary muscle movements and deterioration of cognitive processes and memory, dementia. Huntington’s disease causes disability that gets worse over time.
Huntington’s Disease Overview: #1 Causes
Huntington's disease is transmitted as an autosomal dominant trait. It is caused by a mutation in the HTT gene for a protein called huntingtin. The defect causes the DNA segment known as a CAG trinucleotide to repeat many more times than is normal.
Huntington’s Disease Overview: #2 Symptoms
The specific symptoms and physical features associated with Huntington's disease result from degeneration of neurons.
- Neurologic movement abnormalities may include uncontrolled, irregular, rapid, jerky movements
- A condition characterized by relatively slow, writhing involuntary movements.
- People with Huntington’s disease also develop impaired coordination, slurred speech, and difficulty feeding and swallowing.
Huntington’s Disease Overview: #3 Diagnosis
The diagnosis of Huntington’s disease relies on positive family history, characteristic clinical findings, and the detection of an expansion of 36 or more CAG trinucleotide repeats in HTT.
Huntington's Disease Overview: #4 Treatment
There is no cure for Huntington’s disease, but health care providers can offer medications and therapy to help with certain symptoms.
- Antipsychotic drugs
- Mood-stabilizing drugs