Conditions & Treatments
Huntington's disease is a hereditary progressive neurological disorder that affects approximately 300,000 people in the United States. It most often affects people between 30 and 50 years old, but can occur at any age.
Huntington's disease symptoms include:
- Involuntary movements
- Gait abnormalities with falling
- Psychiatric symptoms such as depression, anxiety and psychosis
- Cognitive decline (dementia)
Patients with Huntington's disease possess a different gene than those without it. Neurologists at Emory are now able to predict if an at-risk patient will develop Huntington's disease. Huntington's disease is a genetic disorder caused by a mutation in the gene huntingtin. The gene is inherited in an autosomal dominant fashion, which means that children of a person with Huntington's disease have a 50% chance of inheriting it. Every patient who inherits the gene ultimately develops the disease.
Diagnosing Huntington's Disease
The Huntington's Disease Society of America Center of Excellence (HDSA COE) based in the Emory Clinic Movement Disorders Center offers a broad range of diagnostic procedures to accurately diagnose Huntington's disease and related disorders. In particular, clinicians are able to predict if an at-risk patient will develop Huntington's disease by drawing blood to check for the abnormal gene.
Hungtinton's Disease Treatment
Emory physicians are highly trained to further analyze the nature of a patient's condition to help design an effective treatment plan. At this time there is no cure that can alter the progressive course of Huntington's disease. However, discovery of the gene has lead to exciting research that may make the discovery of a cure for Huntington's disease a reality in the future. In addition the movement disorders clinic is now offering patients the opportunity to conduct follow-up visits through telemedicine from the comfort of their homes or at our LaGrange practice.
Benefits of Choosing Emory for Huntington's Disease Diagnosis & Treatment
The HDSA COE at Emory was the first such center established. It boasts one of the largest Huntington's disease clinics in the world and treats over 200 patients and 500 families yearly in the Southeast. The Emory HDSA COE team has been part of the Huntington Study Group since its inception 20 years ago and actively participates in ongoing clinical research trials focusing on Huntington's disease.
Our mission is propelled by active research into the underlying mechanisms of Huntington's disease in the laboratory to develop novel therapies to improve the care of our patients.
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