Huntington's disease (HD) is an inherited disease that causes certain nerve cells in the brain to waste away. People are born with the defective gene, but symptoms usually don't appear until middle age. Early symptoms of HD may include uncontrolled movements, clumsiness, and balance problems. Later, HD can take away the ability to walk, talk, and swallow. Some people stop recognizing family members. Others are aware of their environment and are able to express emotions.
If one of your parents has Huntington's disease, you have a 50 percent chance of getting it. A blood test can tell you if have the HD gene and will develop the disease. Genetic counseling can help you weigh the risks and benefits of taking the test.
There is no cure. Medicines can help manage some of the symptoms, but cannot slow down or stop the disease.
NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
- Huntington's Disease: Speech, Language and Swallowing (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association)
- Genetics Home Reference: Huntington disease (National Library of Medicine)
- Genetics Home Reference: Huntington disease-like syndrome (National Library of Medicine)
- Learning about Huntington's Disease (National Human Genome Research Institute)
Videos and Tutorials
- What Is Huntington Disease? (Dolan DNA Learning Center)
Statistics and Research
- 'Anti-Aging' Genes Have Anti-Huntington's Effects in Mice (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)
- Huntington Disease: How Many Repeats Does It Take? (American Academy of Neurology) - PDF
- Monster Mash: Protein Folding Gone Wrong (National Institute of General Medical Sciences)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Huntington Disease (National Institutes of Health)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Life and Death of a Neuron (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)
Find an Expert
- Find a Neurologist (American Academy of Neurology)
- Huntington's Disease Society of America
- Locate Resources for Huntington's Disease (Huntington's Disease Society of America)
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Available in Spanish
- Juvenile Onset HD (Huntington's Disease Society of America) - PDF