n Mental Health Matters - Huntington disease




The rapid advances in genetic research have made it possible to determine the genetic contribution to an increasing number of diseases. For several decades now it's been possible to identify the gene that is responsible for Huntington Disease (HD) - a condition inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern. This means children of a person affected by the disease have a 50% chance of inheriting the gene. Anyone who carries the gene will manifest symptoms of the illness at some time in their lives. The most common time of life for the clinical picture to become apparent is the third decade although it can manifest at other times. Tragically the onset of the symptoms of Huntington Disease often occurs after the sufferer has already had children. This means their children experience the devastating progress of the disease in a parent with the knowledge that they will have a high risk of going through the same illness.


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