Ten Mind-towering Facts About Huntington’s Disease

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1. Huntington’s disease existed since seventeenth century.
• Year 1872 was the birth of the disease.
• The disease is named before Dr. George Huntington who gave the first complete description of the disease.
• The study of the onset, clinical profile and inheritance pattern lead to subsequent identification of the specific defective gene.
• This outcome unlocks the options for the management and hopeful treatment of the disease.

2. Huntington’ disease is an inherited neurological condition.
• It is one of the most common hereditary brain disorders that are acquired in an autosomal dominant pattern.
• A mother having the disease has a 50% chance of passing the faulty gene to her baby.
• It can be determined while the baby is still in the womb of by taking a sample from the amniotic fluid or from the cells of fetal placenta.
• The disease may not be obvious at birth; genetic testing confirms the diagnosis.
• Usually, the onset of symptoms is on middle age (30’s to 40’s) and is sometimes called adult-onset Huntington’s disease that gets worse over time.

3. Huntington’s disease may also begin in childhood.
• Juvenile Huntington’s disease is a less common form of the disease.
• The child’s school performance is greatly affected due to impaired reasoning abilities.
• Seizure has a 30 – 50 percent occurrence in children with this condition.
• The progression tends to be quicker that the adult-onset form.

4. Huntington’s disease is a result of chromosomal mutation.
• Molecular stuttering of gene chromosome number four results in the expanded repetition of itself that makes DNA sequence ’CAG’ (a trinucleotide) abnormally high in number and producing a product called huntingtin.
• Accumulation of clumps of protein has been speculated by scientist to become toxic and causes the alteration of brain functioning.

5. Huntington’s disease is a type dementia.
• Dementia, also known as senility is a broad term used to describe declining mental processes.
• The severity of dwindling mental ability may interfere with daily life.

6. Huntington’s disease is a profoundly debilitating disorder.
• It is characterized by degeneration of nerve cells in the brain (in the basal ganglia which controls coordination and the cerebral cortex (brain’s wrinkled surfaces) which is responsible for “higher-order” functions.
• As the disease progresses, there is a marked and gradual loss of cognitive functioning like short term memory loss.

7. Huntington’s disease is also known as Chorea.
• Involuntary jerky movements of the limbs and torso are the most recognizable symptoms of the disease.
• Facial muscle involvement may rob the patient’s ability to swallow (dysphagia) and talk (speech difficulties).

8. Huntington’s disease has no cure.
• This condition is equated with lose of brain cells (neurodegenerative) which is nfortunately, irreversible.
• Medicines and therapies may help to address and control some of the symptoms to enables the patient to have a nearly normal life.
• There is currently no effective mode of treatment to slow the progression of the disease.

9. Huntington’s disease may necessitate genetic counseling.
• A noticeable change in behavior is seen on patient with this condition like apathy, aggression and sometimes enormously disruptive one.
• Genetic counseling aims to help the sufferer and significant others understand the psychological and social consequences of the disorder.
• Family members play an important role in the care of the patient.
• It should be perceived that the psychological changes happening are part of the disease process.

10. Huntington’s disease may trigger depression.
• Huntington’s disease is a chronic illness and has emotional involvement.
• Psychological impact is imminent when challenged with this kind of illness.

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