The newsletter of the Memory Disorders Project at Rutgers University

What is Huntington's Disease

Huntington's Disease is a "motor" disease, in which patients develop involuntary dance-like movements. It is an inherited disease, which means that if a parent passes the appropriate gene to a child, that child will eventually develop the disease.

Huntington's disease results from degeneration of a brain area known as the basal ganglia, which is important in generating voluntary movements.

Huntington's Disease Symptoms

Early in the course of the disease, patients may also show emotional problems, typically fits of depression or irritability.

Later in the disease, subcortical dementia occurs. (In some cases, though, memory loss is among the earliest of symptoms.)

There is no cure and no good treatment; tranquilizers may be used to control the involuntary movements and alleviate depression, but they cannot reverse the disease nor stop mental deterioration.

by Catherine E. Myers. Copyright © 2006 Memory Loss and the Brain