Huntington's disease is a rare condition that causes
parts of the brain to break down, or degenerate. It is also called Huntington's
chorea. The disease causes rapid, jerky body movements and the loss of normal
mental abilities (dementia). Huntington's disease can cause
personality changes, behavior problems, and memory loss. Symptoms usually develop after age 40. There is no known cure.
But treatment with medicines may help control the involuntary movements and
Huntington's disease is caused by a changed, or
mutated, gene. If you have a parent with the disease, you have a 50% chance of
getting the changed gene and the disease. But there is no way to know when you
will develop Huntington's disease. Some people may pass on the changed gene to
a child before knowing that they themselves have the changed gene.
test can show whether you have the changed gene. You may want to have
genetic counseling if you are thinking of having the
test. Medical geneticists and genetic counselors are experts who can explain what the test means, tell
you the benefits and risks of the test, and answer your questions. But you make
the decision about whether to have the test.