Picture of Huntington's Disease
Huntington's disease is a hereditary disorder caused by a faulty gene for a protein called huntingtin. The children of people with the disorder have a 50% chance of inheriting it. The disease causes degeneration in many regions of the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms of Huntington's disease usually begin when patients are in their thirties or forties, and the average life expectancy after diagnosis is about 15 years. Cognitive symptoms of Huntington's disease typically begin with mild personality changes, such as irritability, anxiety, and depression, and progress to severe dementia. Many patients also show psychotic behavior. Huntington's disease causes chorea - involuntary jerky, arrhythmic movements of the body - as well as muscle weakness, clumsiness, and gait disturbances.
Reviewed by William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR on November 23, 2009
Image Source: Wikipedia / Dr. Frank Gaillard
Text: "Dementia", MedicineNet