Huntington’s disease (HD) is  a hereditary disease which means its passed down in families. It makes nerve cells in your brain slowly break and die. This attack affects how you move and can lead to uncontrollable dance-like actions.

These movements can happen in your fingers, feet, face, or body. They are called chorea. Over time, these actions can become very obvious. People with HD may also have issues with how they think, feel, and act.

HD usually shows up when you’re older (adult HD), but can start in childhood (juvenile HD) – though that’s rare. The disease only gets worse as time goes by.

Early HD signs might be mild clumsiness or trouble with balance. Or, you might see changes in thinking, emotion, or behavior. Figuring out and learning about HD is key to coping with it.

Understanding Huntington’s Disease

Huntington’s disease (HD) is a family-related sickness. It comes from one generation to another. There’s a tiny error in the body’s building instructions.

This mistake happens in the huntingtin gene. People with HD have this error. It slowly hurts the brain and shows HD signs.

Defining Huntington’s Disease

The main problem in HD is in the huntingtin gene. In 1993, researchers found this gene. Anyone can have this gene, but only some get the HD gene.

This disease can affect children, too. They might inherit it from their parents.

Inherited Nature of Huntington’s Disease

If a parent has HD, their child has a 50% chance of getting it. The huntingtin gene makes a protein. But in HD, this protein becomes too long and hard to work with.

The problem starts with extra CAG repeats. These make the huntingtin protein faulty.

Causes and Genetic Factors

Over time, this faulty protein gathers in the brain. It harms and kills brain cells. HD comes from a DNA problem called CAG repeats.

Huntington's Disease Genetics

What is Huntington’s disease?

Physical Symptoms

Huntington’s disease (HD) starts slowly. It may be hard to hold a pen or keep your balance. As time goes on, these signs get worse and can make daily life hard. People with HD often fidget and have sudden movements in their face and limbs.

These movements can cause big weight loss and trouble walking. They might find it hard to keep their balance and move well. Later, they may not be able to work, drive, or take care of things at home. They might need help and could get disability benefits.

Cognitive and Behavioral Symptoms

HD can also change how you think and act. At first, you might have trouble planning, remembering, or focusing. You might also feel sad, anxious, or get angry easily. Over 10 to 25 years, these issues can get worse. They may affect your ability to think and talk and make it hard to walk.

Huntington’s Disease Progression

The way HD progresses is different for everyone, but it generally gets worse over time. Most people show signs in their 30s or 40s. But sometimes, it shows up before someone turns 20. When this happens, it leads to different signs and a faster progress of the disease.

The time it takes from the first sign to death is usually 10 to 30 years. With early signs appearing before someone is 20, death could happen in 10 to 15 years. Pneumonia, falls, and swallowing issues are common causes of death in HD.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosing huntington’s disease usually involves different steps. A doctor will look at your medical history and do a physical exam. They will also talk to you and maybe do some tests like an MRI. These tests aim to check your brain and see if there’s huntington’s disease.

Diagnostic Tests for Huntington’s Disease

Genetic testing is key in finding out if you have this disease. It checks the huntingtin gene for certain changes. This test is very accurate and can tell for sure if you have huntington’s disease.

Managing Symptoms and Care

Unfortunately, huntington’s disease doesn’t have a cure. But there are ways to help with its effects. There are medicines to manage the jerky movements (chorea) and other symptoms. They can make the condition a bit easier to live with.

Therapies and support are also available. Speech and physical therapy can help you keep up your daily activities. These therapies can improve your quality of life. Overall, a good care plan includes both medical and emotional support.

diagnosing huntington's disease

Latest Research and Developments

Scientists are learning more about Huntington’s disease (HD) daily. Their work helps us understand the disease better. They find ways to spot the disease early and look for new treatments. Stem cell research is a hot topic in this field right now.

Understanding Disease Mechanisms

Specialists funded by NINDS look closely at what happens in HD at a tiny level. They check how the huntingtin protein signals cells. They also study its shape and its role in making the disease worse. They want to know if the Huntington gene changes much later can cause or worsen the disease. How healthy DNA in the brain tries to fight off the disease also interests them. This might help find new ways to treat HD by finding new drug targets.

Biomarkers and Genetic Factors

The PREDICT-HD team and others are searching for signs and markers of HD. These markers could help predict and check the disease, showing how treatments are working. They also look at how genes can speed up when HD starts, which affects when the disease shows up. This matters for planning care and coming up with new ways to treat HD.

Stem Cell Research

A dedicated group of scientists is looking into how stem cells can help with HD. They use special HD cell lines to do their research. This work is key to finding new treatments. They aim to fix or replace brain cells harmed by HD.

latest research on huntington's disease


Huntington’s disease is an inherited disorder that affects the brain. It causes many problems, like physical issues, memory loss, and strange behaviors. Right now, there is no cure for it. But, scientists are learning more about it and working on new treatments. They are looking at things like biomarkers and stem cell research.

It’s very important to know about Huntington’s disease. Supporting research can help us find better ways to care for people with it. We must keep trying to bring hope to those facing this disease.

We are making progress in understanding Huntington’s disease. With new knowledge and ongoing support, we can make a difference. Together, we can lessen the harm caused by this illness.


What is Huntington’s Disease?

Huntington’s disease is a health problem that you can get from your parents. It makes nerve cells in your brain stop working and die. This illness affects how you move on purpose and other parts of your brain.

What are the symptoms of Huntington’s Disease?

People with Huntington’s disease can show many different signs. They might act differently, change moods often, and feel very sad. They could have problems remembering things and not make good choices. Their walk might be unsteady, or they might make movements they can’t control. They could also talk in a way that’s hard to understand, find it tough to swallow, and lose a lot of weight.

How is Huntington’s Disease diagnosed?

To see if someone has Huntington’s disease, doctors use different tests and check their medical past. They do neurological and lab tests, look at the brain with imaging, and do genetic testing. The best way to know for sure is by checking the HD gene for a certain mistake.

What treatments are available for Huntington’s Disease?

Right now, there is no cure for Huntington’s disease. But there are many ways to help with its symptoms. These include using certain drugs, getting therapy to keep moving well, learning how to eat and speak better, and getting the right foods.

What causes Huntington’s Disease?

Huntington’s disease comes from a mistake in how our DNA works. This error happens in a gene called huntingtin. It makes a bad protein that harms the brain.

How does Huntington’s Disease progress?

Huntington’s disease gets worse over time, affecting movement, thinking, and talking. At first, people might have trouble planning or remembering things. They might also feel different. Slowly, talking and eating can get hard, and moving can become stiff and slow.

What is the latest research on Huntington’s Disease?

Scientists are always studying Huntington’s disease. They look at how cells and molecules are involved, find ways to measure the sickness, and explore using stem cells to help.

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