Huntington's disease explained
Huntington's disease (HD) is a hereditary disorder caused by a faulty gene for a protein called huntingtin.
The children of people with the disorder have a 50 percent chance of inheriting it.
The disease causes degeneration in many regions of the brain and spinal cord.
Symptoms of HD usually begin when patients are in their thirties or forties, and the average life expectancy after diagnosis is about 15 years.
Cognitive symptoms of HD typically begin with mild personality changes, such as irritability, anxiety, and depression, and progress to severe dementia.
Many patients also show psychotic behavior. HD causes chorea - involuntary jerky, arrhythmic movements of the body - as well as muscle weakness, clumsiness, and gait disturbances.
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© Anthony George 2005 Huntington's Disease Explained Sponsor Love My Town