Huntington's

Eliot Gelwan eliot.gelwan at channel1.com
Tue Jul 26 20:19:00 EST 1994


On 07-26-94, schuett at athene.informatik  discussed "Chorea Huntington:"

s --Hallo,
s --the father of a friend of me has Chorea Huntington.
s --Does anyone know something about this illness, about therapy and
s --something else?
s --Will she get this illnes as her father ?

Huntington's Disease, or Huntington's Chorea, is transmitted by an 
autosomal dominant gene with complete penetrance. It expresses itself 
in middle adulthood. The disease involves abnormalities in the control 
of movement (choreiform movements, or chorea), mental deterioration 
(dementia) and often psychiatric symptoms (depression or psychosis, or 
both). The patient deteriorates inevitably and dies of the disorder. 
In endstage, it is usually necessary to institutionalize the patient 
as s/he cannot care for himself. There is no treatment to halt its 
progression, but some of the syumptoms can be controlled with 
antipsychotic medications such as haloperidol. To emphasize, however, 
the disease is inevitably fatal. The most famous victim of 
Huntington's Disease was the folksinger Woody Guthrie, Arlo Guthrie's 
father. 

Because no manifestations are visible until middle adulthood, children 
may be carrying the gene and will inevitably develop the disease if 
they are. Since they will marry and bear children before it shows, 
they will pass it on to a proportion of their offspring, and so on. 
However, there is now a test for the gene by DNA analysis, so 
relatives of affected individuals can know with certainty in advance 
if they will get it. Again, nothing can be done to prevent them from 
developing and succombing to the disease, but at least they can know, 
and perhaps decide not to bear children. I'm not sure if the test can 
be done in utero in time to abort a fetus that carries the gene. Some 
people decide they don't want to know.

I've mailed you, schuett at athene.informatik,  a copy of this message 
and am also posting it to this newsgroup because I think it might be 
of general interest. I'm also interested in seeing if I've committed 
any inaccuracies that you'all who read this might wish to correct.

----------------------------------------------
eliot.gelwan at channel1.com   Dept of Psychiatry
82 Perry St                 UMass Med Ctr
Brookline MA 02146-6907     Worcester MA 01605
-------(Brookline MA, 20:16 on 07/26/94)-------            
---
 þ CMPQwk 1.4 #1082 þ Born crying, live complaining, die disappointed.



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