Huntingtons Disease also known as Huntingtons chorea, hereditary chorea, chronic progressive chorea, is an incurable genetic brain disorder that piece by piece steals the life from those who are struck with it.
It slowly and progressively takes away the ability to use the arms and legs, the ability to talk, reason and even think.
Although it will affect far less people than the other mental neuro diseases, if your one of the 1 in 10,000 who is afflicted the numbers are quite significant.
If you are struck with Huntingtons disease, you most likely were diagnosed in your early 30's to mid 50's. The prognosis is not good. Death typically happens from 10 to 20 years from diagnosis.
It results in a patient being unable to preform the activities of daily living.
It was first recognized as a disease in 1872 by Dr. George Huntington. Since it is a genetic disease, it is possible to be tested to see if you have the gene. The test cannot tell when the onset will happen nor what your life expectancy will be. If your family does not have a history of the disease, this is not going to be a usual suspect.
However if they do...Read on.
The dementia resulting from Huntingtons Disease is called sub cortical dementia. The associated mental challenges result in difficulty accomplishing a series of tasks.
They could vacuum the carpet but not do the laundry at the same time. They are especially vulnerable to distractions. The TV could be such a distraction that it would be too much to eat their meal. They will just push it away.
The onset symptoms often will make the family think Alzheimer's disease. It starts with forgetfulness, mood swings, depression, slurred speech, clumsiness or lack of coordination.
Additionally it will present with twitching or complex rapid jerky motions of the face, limbs and trunk. This symptom is where the term chorea comes from.
The difference with Alzheimer's is that there are treatments that provide promise for Alzheimer's patients. There are no medical treatments for those who are dealing with Huntingtons Chorea.
Studies looking at the cellular level of these patients is telling. The neurochemical 3-hydroxykynrunine (3-HK) promotes oxidative stress. The brains of Huntington's sufferers have 3-HK in excessive levels.
A team of Neurobiologists at the Institute of Neurology in London, England, feel that at the root of Huntington's and Parkinson's Disease is the inherent inability of the brain to detoxify neurotoxins.
Many of the brain and neuro diseases result in high levels of oxidative stress and free radical formation. They also result in glutathione metabolization abnormalities and a decrease in antioxidant stress.
The lab experiments where the GSH was boosted seemed to decrease the damage done by the 3-HK.
There is still a need for additional study on the benefits of boosting glutathione in the brain cells of these patients. Can boosting glutathione benefit those suffering from HD?
Although it will not change the genetic predisposition, how much it can slow down the progression and even put off the result would be a glimmer of hope for those suffering from Huntingtons Disease.
Ask your doctor. If enough people start to ask, there may be someone who wants to find answers.
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