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What is Huntington's Disease?

Formerly known as "Huntington's Chorea," Huntington's Disease (HD) is a hereditary, progressively degenerative brain disease. It is a familial disease, passed from parent to child through a mutation of the 4th chromozome. Each child of an HD parent has a 50-50 chance of inheriting the gene which causes degerneration of brain cells, resulting in the loss of the abilities to walk, think, talk, reason and swallow. Changes occur in thinking, judgement, and temperment. Depression is also common. Onset generally appears at midlife (30-50 years old) but in some, onset occurs in childhood (juvenile HD) or in old age (late onset). The disease profoundly affects the lives of entire families, as an affected person becomes totally dependent on others for his/her care.

About one in 10,000 Americans have this disease. Since 1993, a genetic test has been available to those at-risk, to determine whether or not (s)he carries the HD gene. There is also a "grey area" where an individual will not develop HD, but (s)he may pass the disease on to any of his/her children. The test does not indicate at what age the disease will develop.

Your contribution will expedite this great scientific endeavor and help fund family services for those afflicted with this uniquely devastating neurological disease

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