Understanding Huntington's Disease

Researchers are inching ever closer to a treatment for the inherited neurodegenerative disorder Huntington's disease (HD). Following close on the heels of recent optimistic reports on fetal cell implants1,2 comes a report from Johns Hopkins University that sheds light on a possible mechanism of neuronal destruction in HD.3 The work reveals possible new drug targets. Legendary folksinger Woody Guthrie's fight with HD brought the disease into the public eye in the 1960s. Today, some 30,000 peopl

Ricki Lewis
Apr 15, 2001
Researchers are inching ever closer to a treatment for the inherited neurodegenerative disorder Huntington's disease (HD). Following close on the heels of recent optimistic reports on fetal cell implants1,2 comes a report from Johns Hopkins University that sheds light on a possible mechanism of neuronal destruction in HD.3 The work reveals possible new drug targets.

Legendary folksinger Woody Guthrie's fight with HD brought the disease into the public eye in the 1960s. Today, some 30,000 people in the United States are affected by the late-onset, autosomal dominant condition. Early symptoms--such as anger or depression, repetitive fidgety movements, and a clumsiness and tendency to fall--may go unnoticed for years. Neurological deterioration, reflecting cell death in the brain's striatum, typically continues for 15 to 20 years. HD has left its mark on the recent history of genetics, but has remained frustratingly untreatable. Discovery of a marker in 1983,4 and...

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