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Published: May 17, 2010
Updated: July 15, 2011
Huntington's disease (HD) is a degenerative brain disease that leads to uncontrolled movements, mood and behavior changes, and cognitive decline.
HD is an autosomal dominant inherited disease, which means that someone with a parent who has HD has a 50 percent chance of inheriting the gene for the disease.
Early symptoms of HD, such as mood swings and fidgeting movements, can appear between ages 35 and 50 and as the disease progresses over time. Other symptoms include:
Patients at risk for HD can undergo genetic testing in the form of a blood test. Comprehensive genetic counseling is recommended for the patients and their families.
There is currently no cure for HD, but some medications can control the involuntary movements and emotional symptoms associated with the disease.
Tetrabenazine (Xenazine) can be offered for disabling choreia; antidepressant medications can be helpful for emotional symptoms.
We are pleased to announce the organization of a multidisciplinary Huntington’s Disease Clinic as part of the Duke University Movement Disorders Center. The clinic is directed by Burton Scott, MD, and currently takes place once a month on a Friday afternoon, usually the third Friday of the month.
At the clinic we are pleased to be able to offer the services of speech therapy, physical and occupational therapy, as well as a social worker, and movement disorders specialists. Mary Edmondson, MD, provides expert psychiatric care to the clinic, and our clinical trials coordinator is present as well.
In an effort to improve treatment of HD, we are enrolling HD patients and unaffected volunteers into HD clinical trials at Duke. There are currently three clinical trials underway at our clinic, with more to come.
The three current HD clinical trials are:
HD subjects and their family members can enroll in clinical trials by contacting our clinical trials coordinator Sarah Wyne at 919-668-2837, and HD patients can be scheduled for evaluation at the Duke HD Clinic by contacting Ginger Williams at 919-668-2493.
The Duke HD Clinic is a member organization in the HD Reach, which is a collaboration among HD centers at Duke, Wake Forest University, and UNC-Chapel Hill.
For more information contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-803-8128.