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huntingtons disease

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Huntington 's disease Introduction Huntington's disease (HD) is a hereditary disease for which there is no cure. Dr Miha Likar (1979) stated, "that the onset of this rare hereditary disease does not appear until middle age. Muscular spasms become progressingly more debilitating and the disease is invariably fatal." Huntington's is a neurological disease, which damages the nerve cells in the brain. This causes degeneration, deterioration and gradual loss of function of areas in the brain. It affects movement, cognition, perception, awareness, thinking and behavioural problems. Men and women are equally likely to develop Huntington's, it is estimated that between, 6500 to 8000 people have the disease in Britain. Normally it does not present itself until the age of 30 to 50 and many people are unaware that they have the disease and that they may have passed it on to their children. ...read more.


They can also have a lack of inhibitions, showing a lack of interest in personal hygiene. Communication Huntington's affects all communication, cognition and speech. People with this disease often have difficulty putting thoughts into words and slur their speech. They understand what you are saying but cannot necessarily communicate that they understand or respond too you. Impaired breathing can also make speech and articulation difficult. In the later stages of Huntington,'s the person will become totally dependant and require full nursing care. Causes Huntington's is caused by an error in the genetic code that programmes the way the body works. The mistake lies in a defective gene on chromosome 4; this gene produces a protein called huntingin. The pattern of inheritance in Huntington's is called autosomal dominant inheritance. The defect affects the production of certain brain enzymes, these proteins are involved in making essential brain chemicals. ...read more.


People with the disease need to have a high-calorie diet. Help with eating and drinking, food should be easy to chew digest and swallow. In the later stages, alternative feeding methods such as a naso-gastric tube may be necessary. An occupational therapist can help with mobility and day-to-day activities. Grants are available from social services for help in adapting your house and making the environment safe. Research There is no way to prevent the disease, and there is currently no cure available. Research is ongoing and we are researching better ways in trying to understand the cause of the nerve cell death and trying to identify a way of interfering with the faulty gene so it does not cause Huntington's Research is also being undertaken in creating a drug that will slow the progress of the disease. It may be many years before we are any closer to discovering a new effective treatment for Huntington's disease. Teresa Llewellyn Task 6 1 ...read more.

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