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New Research Provides Hope for Huntington’s Disease

written by: MandaSpring•edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski•updated: 11/20/2008

Huntington’s disease is a very serious medical condition with rising statistics. Learn more about how a person gets Huntington’s Disease and the new research to find an effective treatment or cure.

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    There are so many diseases that affect the human race today. Some of which are hereditary and others are contracted through environmental origins or person to person contact. There are great strides being made in research today with the help of modern technology.

    What is Huntington’s Disease?

    Sufferers of Huntington’s disease have a long a rough road ahead of them. Because this is a genetic or hereditary disease there are no preventative measures a person can take to avoiding getting Huntington Disease. When a person gets the onset of Huntington’s disease they usually have between 15 to 20 years before death occurs. In that time they will experience a number of symptoms such as: mood swings, sporadic movements, problems with balance, and eventually lose the natural ability to walk, talk, eat and swallow.

    The following information is based upon the statistics at eMedTV. This is a health website with valuable Huntington’s disease information, statistics and resources. It is estimated that 30,000 are currently, fully affected with Huntington’s disease in the United States of America. Also reported is the fact that there are at least 150,000 that have a 50% chance at developing Huntington’s disease at some point during their lives.

    Research

    The Emory research team is responsible for this breakthrough. By taking the eggs of the monkey and injecting different genes of the Huntington’s disease into them. The eggs were then fertilized and implanted into surrogate mothers. These monkeys are behaving as people often do that are currently sufferers of Huntington’s disease. This is helping researchers design diverse methods of care with the hopes that people will soon benefit from effective treatment options.

    "This research allows scientists to advance beyond mouse models which do not replicate all of the changes in the brain and behavior that humans with Huntington's disease experience. Primate models better mirror human diseases and are a critical link between research with small laboratory animals and studies involving humans." - John D. Harding, Ph.D., director of primate resources at the NIH's National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)

    "Genetic advances make it easy to identify who has inherited the disease gene." - Walter Koroshetz, M.D., deputy director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

    Basically, by studying a primate's brain they are closer than ever before to finding a cure. Dr. Koroshetz owes it all to the ability to use this model with new technology for not only the people already suffering from Huntington’s disease but also for all those who are likely to get it in the future.

    Overview

    To recap, Huntington’s disease is a serious medical condition. It is not currently preventable or treatable. With this new research with primates, experts and professionals are able to monitor the behavior and expand treatment options with the hope of soon finding an effective treatment and someday potential cure.