Huntington's disease is an incurable neurodegenerative genetic disorder
that affects muscle coordination and some cognitive functions,
typically becoming noticeable in middle age. It is the most common
genetic cause of abnormal involuntary writhing movements called chorea
and is much more common in people of Western Europe descent than in
those from Asia or Africa. The disease is caused by a dominant mutation
on either of the two copies of a gene called Huntingtin, which means
any child of an affected parent has a 50% risk of inheriting the
disease. Physical symptoms of Huntington's disease can begin at any age
from infancy to old age, but usually begin between 35 and 44 years of
age. The Huntingtin gene normally provides the genetic information for
a protein that is also called "huntingtin". The mutation of the
Huntingtin gene codes for a different form of the protein, whose
presence results in gradual damage to specific areas of the brain. The
exact way this happens is not fully understood. Genetic counseling has
developed to inform and aid individuals considering genetic testing.
The earliest symptoms are a general lack of coordination and an
unsteady gait. As the disease advances, uncoordinated, jerky body
movements become more apparent, along with a decline in mental
abilities and behavioral and psychiatric problems. Although the
disorder itself is not fatal, complications such as pneumonia, heart
disease, and physical injury from falls reduce life expectancy to
around twenty years after symptoms begin. There is no cure for HD, and
full-time care is often required in the later stages of the disease.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Henry IV of France was crowned at the Cathedral of Chartres near Paris,
beginning the Bourbon dynasty.
Under the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1801, Washington, D.C., a
new planned city and capital of the United States, was placed under the
jurisdiction of the U.S. Congress.
The Reichstag building in Berlin, the assembly location of the German
Parliament, was set on fire , a pivotal event in the establishment of
the Nazi regime in Germany.
American biochemists Martin Kamen and Sam Ruben discovered the
radioactive isotope carbon-14, which today is used extensively as the
basis of the radiocarbon dating method to date archaeological,
geological, and hydrogeological samples.
Two dissident Republic of Vietnam Air Force pilots bombed the
Independence Palace in Saigon in a failed assassination attempt of
President of South Vietnam Ngo Dinh Diem.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
To praise; to glorify
Wikiquote quote of the day:
Turn, turn, my wheel! All things must change
To something new, to something strange;
Nothing that is can pause
The moon will wax, the moon will wane,
The mist and cloud will turn
The rain to mist and cloud again,
To-morrow be to-day.
--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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