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Huntington's disease

Huntington's disease

HD is an inherited condition that causes gradual degeneration of the central nervous system.

Huntington’s disease (HD) is a severe, progressive, neurodegenerative brain condition. It causes changes in muscle control, cognition (perception, awareness, thinking, judgement) and mental well-being (encompassing the full spectrum of psychiatric illness).

HD is an 'autosomal dominant disorder' which means that someone affected has a 50:50 chance of passing it on to their children. It is the most common single-gene neurodegenerative brain condition and, in Scotland, approximately 1-2 people per 10,000 are affected.

The gene that causes Huntington’s disease does not work properly when there are too many of a unit called a CAG repeat. We can count the number of CAG repeats and predict if an individual from a family with HD is likely to develop symptoms of the condition.

Most commonly people develop symptoms between the ages of 33 and 45. It less commonly develops at an older age and symptoms are very rarely seen in children and young people.

Further information

NHS Inform: Huntington's disease

Scottish Huntington's Association

HD Buzz (Huntington's research news in plain language)