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Huntington’s Disease

Huntington’s disease is a rare neurologic disease, which results in movement and neuropsychological changes.

Symptoms arise gradually and can include changes in walking, mood, personality, memory and thinking.

Huntington’s disease is an inherited disease. Everyone who has Huntington’s disease carries an abnormal number of copies of the Huntington gene. This gene is passed from parents to children in an autosomal dominant manner. This means that if a parent has Huntington's disease, each of his or her children has a 50 percent chance of inheriting the condition.

Symptoms most often appear between the ages of 30 and 50 and worsen slowly over several decades.

Huntington’s disease is degenerative, meaning as more brain cells are lost, symptoms worsen. Involuntary movements can become problematic. Affected individuals may experience psychiatric problems, including changes in thinking and reasoning, or feelings of depression and anxiety caused by the way Huntington’s disease affects the brain. Speech and swallowing can be difficult.

Currently, there is no cure or treatment to slow the progression of Huntington’s disease, however research being performed at Indiana University Health and Indiana University School of Medicine and is making progress towards treatments that can slow the disease progression. At Indiana University Health Movement disorders and Huntington’s disease clinics, we work with you to manage the condition.

When you are diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, the information can be daunting. Our experts work with you to learn more about the disease and how you can manage the condition.

At Indiana University Health Huntington’s Disease Center of Excellence, we employ a multidisciplinary approach to treat and manage your symptoms through our Huntington’s Disease clinic at IU Health Neuroscience Center. With our Huntington’s Disease Study Group and other research teams, we are able to provide access to clinical trials as well as the latest treatment options.

Our research efforts include the National Research Roster for Huntington Disease Patients and Families, which began at Indiana University in 1979. The roster promotes research projects that identify treatments and cures. More than 3,000 families are involved in this effort.

The Indiana University Preclinical Neuropsychopharmacology Laboratory studies the neural network dysfunctions of Huntington’s disease to aid in the development of new medicines. This could lead to new therapies that slow the progression of Huntington’s disease or cure it.

We help you and your family access comprehensive resources and support services. Our clinic is designated as a Center of Excellence by the Huntington’s Disease Society of America.

The genetic nature of the disease and how it impacts families presents many emotional and interpersonal dynamics that can be difficult to address. For example, as the disease progresses, affected individuals will need to stop working and driving and rely on family and others for care. We are dedicated to easing symptoms and helping establish a plan for care as the disease progresses. We involve patients and families in educational and research opportunities, including an annual symposium with our medical team.

How We Can Help

How We Can Help

Huntington’s Disease Treatment Information

Huntington’s disease impacts you and your family in different ways over many years. We are here to guide you and your family toward the best care plans for your condition.

Huntington’s Disease Locations & Physicians

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Huntington’s Disease Support Services

Learn more about Huntington’s disease treatments at these websites: