Huntington's Disease (HD) is an inherited progressive brain disorder whose symptoms are caused by the loss of cells in a part of the brain called the basal ganglia. The damage to these cells affects a person's emotional control, cognitive ability (thinking, judgment, memory) and movement. Symptoms of HD vary greatly from person to person and usually appear between the ages of 30 and 50. However, the disease can strike young children (called juvenile HD) and the elderly. HD can affect males and females of all races all over the world. Common features of HD can be broken down into three categories:
- Emotional/Behavioral Symptoms
- Cognitive/Intellectual Symptoms
- Motor Symptoms
Currently there is no cure for HD, and eventually it is fatal. Symptoms of the disease, however, can be treated with medication and behavioral therapy. In 1993 the gene that causes HD was found. Since then, scientists have been actively searching for treatments to slow down and/or cure HD.
The mission of the Huntington's Disease Program of UConn Health is to provide care, treatment and education to patients with HD and their families. Persons eligible include Connecticut residents who have or are at risk for HD and their family members. The HD Program is also charged with being an educational resource to health services throughout the state of Connecticut.