Huntington's disease (HD) results from genetically programmed degeneration of brain cells, called neurons, in certain areas of the brain. This degeneration causes uncontrolled movements, loss of intellectual faculties, and emotional disturbance. HD is a familial disease, passed from parent to child through a mutation in the normal gene. Symptoms usually appear between the ages of 30 and 50. Symptoms range from forgetfulness, personality change, and involuntary movement to difficulty swallowing. Each person is affected individually and may display different symptoms.
Huntington's disease affects woman and men as well as all races. Every child born to an affected person has a 50% chance of inheriting the Huntington gene. Currently, symptomatic treatments are available. However, a great deal of research is ongoing throughout the world to find new treatments or a cure for this disease.
FOR APPOINTMENTS CALL: 314-362-6908
FOR CLINICAL STUDIES CALL: 314-362-0420
Board-certified neurologists who see patients for Huntington's disease include:
Joel S. Perlmutter, MD, Section Chief
Kevin J. Black, MD, Neuropsychiatry
Susan Criswell, MD
Marc Diamond, MD
Morvarid Karimi, MD
Paul Kotzbauer, MD
William Landau, MD
Brad A. Racette, MD
Bradley Schlaggar, MD, PhD, Pediatric Movement Disorders
Samer Tabbal, MD
Neuroclinical Research unit in the McMillan building
517 S. Euclid Avenue, lower level
Center for Advanced Medicine
4921 Parkview Place, 6th floor, Suite C
Huntington's Disease Center of Excellence
The Huntington's Disease Society of America (HDSA) Centers of Excellence were designated to create stable regional centers which offer the best clinical care and services for those affected by HD and their families.
The HDSA Center of Excellence at Washington University School of Medicine provides a full spectrum of services and access to cutting-edge research. Our center offers the expertise of neurologists, psychiatrists, social workers, physical and occupational therapists, and other professionals; all with the commitment to caring for individuals with HD and their families
Symptoms of Huntington's Disease
Each child of an HD parent has a 50-50 chance of inheriting the HD gene. A person who inherits the HD gene will sooner or later develop the disease. Some early symptoms of HD are mood swings, depression, irritability or trouble driving, learning new things, remembering a fact, or making a decision.
As the disease progresses, concentration on intellectual tasks becomes increasingly difficult and the patient may have difficulty with the mechanics of eating and swallowing. Individuals who exercise and keep active tend to do better than those who do not.
A genetic test, coupled with a complete medical history and neurological and laboratory tests, helps physicians diagnose HD. Presymptomatic testing is available at the Washington University Center for Excellence for individuals who are at risk for carrying the HD gene.
At this time, there is no way to stop or reverse the course of HD, but with the discovery of the HD gene, there is hope and new research on its role.
For more information, visit our website: Huntington’s Disease Center of Excellence