Sample Essay on Huntington’s Disease

Huntington’s disease

The Huntington’s disease (HD) is a genetic illness that leads to the damage of the brain cells. The initial symptoms are frequently understated difficulties with mood or cerebral aptitudes (An et al., 2012). An overall lack of harmonization and a wobbly gait regularly follow. With the continued progress of the illness, uncoordinated and irregular body actions become more superficial. Corporeal capabilities progressively deteriorate until harmonized drive becomes hard and one is incapable of talking. Mental aptitudes weaken into dementia. The particular symptoms differ to some degree amid people. Signs customarily start between 30 and 50 years of age; however, they could begin at whichever age. The ailment may develop earlier in life in every subsequent generation. Approximately 8% of the cases begin before the age of 20. Individuals with HD frequently undervalue the degree of their difficulties (An et al., 2012). This paper has described signs and symptoms, genetic infection, and inheritance of the disorder, over and above majoring on how genes affect HD.

Signs and Symptoms

Although symptoms of Huntington’s condition frequently become visible between the ages of 30 to 50 years, they could instigate at any time from the early period to adulthood. In the initial phases, there are subtle variations in character, reasoning, and human skills. The visible indications are ordinarily the first to be observed, as cognitive and behavioral signs are usually not austere enough to be acknowledged on their own at the previous phases (Pringsheim et al., 2012). Almost every person with Huntington’s illness ultimately shows like physical symptoms; nevertheless, the onset, advancement, and degree of mental and behavioral symptoms diverge considerably among people. The most distinctive early physical signs are jerky, random, and irrepressible actions referred to as chorea. Chorea might be originally experienced as overall restlessness, small accidentally started motions, lack of harmonization, and decelerated saccadic eye movements.

The negligible motor defects often lead to more recognizable indications of motor dysfunction by at least three years. The visible presence of symptoms, for example, inflexibility and writhing movements show as the ailment advances (Pringsheim et al., 2012). These are indications that the system in the brain that is accountable for movement has been influenced. Psychomotor roles become gradually impaired, for instance, any action that necessitates muscle regulation is affected. Universal significances are physical unpredictability, uncharacteristic facial expression, and chewing, talking, and swallowing problems. Eating complications frequently lead to weight loss and could cause malnutrition. Cognitive aptitudes are gradually weakened. The mainly influenced are the executive roles, which comprise scheduling, mental flexibility, abstract thinking, rule attainment, the beginning of suitable movements, and reserve of inappropriate actions. As the illness advances, memory shortfalls tend to appear (Pringsheim et al., 2012). Cognitive glitches tend to deteriorate over time, eventually causing dementia. This array of shortages has been regarded as a subcortical dementia syndrome to differentiate it from the expected impacts of cortical dementias, for example, Alzheimer’s ailment.

Gene Effect

All individuals have two replicas of the gene that ciphers for the protein huntingtin (HTT). Mutations in the HTT gene cause Huntington’s disease (MacLeod et al., 2013). The HTT gene offers directives for creating protein huntingtin. Although the role of this protein is unidentified, it seems to play a fundamental function in nerve cells within the brain. The HTT mutation that leads to Huntington’s disorder comprises a DNA fragment called CAG trinucleotide repeat. The segment is composed of chains of three DNA building blocks that occur numerous times in a row. Usually, the CAG segment is recurrent in 10 to 35 times in the gene. In individuals with Huntington’s ailment, the CAG segment is repetitive in 36 and beyond 120 times. Persons with 36 to 39 CAG recurrences may not experience progress in the signs and symptoms of Huntington’s disorder, while individuals with 40 or more recaps almost continually nurture the condition (MacLeod et al., 2013). An upsurge in the size of the CAG segment causes the production of an unusually long type of the huntingtin protein. The lengthened protein is bowdlerized into minor, lethal fragments that fit together and accrue in neurons, distracting the usual tasks of these cells. The dysfunction and ultimate death of neurons in particular areas of the brain cause the signs and symptoms of Huntington’s illness.


Huntington’s ailment is inherited in an autosomal central fashion. The possibility of every offspring receiving an affected gene is 50%. Inheritance is sovereign of sex, and the phenotype does not jump generations (Tabrizi et al., 2012). Huntington’s disorder has autosomal dominant heritage room. An uninfected child characteristically receives one replica of the gene with a prolonged trinucleotide repeat from an infected parent. As penetrance of the mutation is high, those who have a mutated duplicate of the gene can have the illness. In this kind of inheritance array, each offspring of an affected individual has a 50% chance of getting the mutant allele and thus being infected with the disease. This likelihood is not dependent on sex.

Fig. 1: Inheritance of Huntington’s disease (Chial, 2008, p. 71)

Trinucleotide CAG recurrences over 28 are unbalanced in replication and this uncertainty upsurges with the number of repeats present. This ordinarily causes recent developments as generations pass as a substitute of replicating a precise copy of the trinucleotide recurrence. This leads to the number of repeats to modify in consecutive generations, for instance, an uninfected parent with a mixed number of repeats may pass on a replica of the gene with an upsurge in the number of repeats that create completely penetrant HD (Tabrizi et al., 2012). Such upturns in the number of reprises in succeeding generations are referred to as genetic anticipation. Unsteadiness is larger in spermatogenesis than oogenesis. Gently inherited alleles are common of a similar repeat length, whereas paternally inbred ones have a greater chance of amassing in the distance. It is uncommon for Huntington’s disease to be instigated by a new mutation, where neither parent has more than 36 CAG repeats. In the rare circumstances where both parents have a prolonged HD gene, the danger rises to 75%, and when either parent has two lengthened copies, the possibility of infection is 100% (Pringsheim et al., 2012). Nevertheless, it is not common to have persons with both genes affected.


A Chemical called tetrabenazine is a legalized compound for controlling chorea in HD. There is no acknowledged cure for HD; however, treatments are obtainable to diminish the harshness of some of its symptoms. There has been a partial indication to approve the efficiency of treating the symptoms of HD (Tabrizi et al., 2012). As the ailment advances, the aptitude to care for oneself falls, and cautiously handled multidisciplinary care provision becomes progressively essential. Although there have been inadequate studies of exercises and treatments that aid in the rehabilitation of mental signs of HD, there is some proof of the effectiveness of occupational, speech, and physical therapies. A relationship between caffeine consumption and prior age of commencement in Huntington’s disease has been established; nonetheless, since this conclusion was grounded on historical survey information instead of a blinded, randomized sample, this acts as an uncertified foundation for guiding routine judgments.


Individuals with Huntington’s disorder could visit a physical therapist for both non-invasive and non-drug-grounded methods of handling the physical symptoms. Physical therapists could execute fall peril valuation and deterrence besides strengthening, broadening, and circulatory exercises (Pringsheim et al., 2012). Walking aids would be recommended as suitable. Additionally, physical therapists recommend breathing aerobics and airway clearance methods with the growth of respiratory difficulties. The HD Network has created agreement rules on physiotherapy in Huntington’s illness in Europe.

Medications and Education

Tetrabenazine was ratified in 2008 for the management of chorea in Huntington’s disorder in the US. Furthermore, other medicines like benzodiazepines and neuroleptics diminish chorea (An et al., 2012). Other compounds, for example, amantadine is still under research as it has revealed maiden positive outcomes. Psychiatric symptoms could be treated with drugs comparable to those applied in the overall populace. Mirtazapine has not been compulsory for depression, whereas atypical antipsychotic medicines are endorsed for neurosis and behavioral glitches. The neuropsychiatric specialist effort is recommended as persons would need lasting treatment with numerous medications together. Genetic counseling helps individuals who have inbred or are at the menace of inheriting Huntington’s disorder (An et al., 2012). These people ought to be assisted in updating their knowledge, pursuing to dismiss any baseless beliefs that they would have, and helping them deliberate their future choices and strategies.



Huntington’s disorder is very stressful and could be described according to its genetic foundation, indications, and treatment. It puts forth emotional, social, and mental pressures. The quick pace of investigation and the current advances in technology that have helped the scientists to find and comprehend the gene accountable for the illness provides high hopes for an ultimate treatment and possibly a cure. Two lines of study effort are presently vigorously followed. Experts are focused on the growth of medicines that would slow down or halt the advancement of the disease. The other approach emphasizes on techniques to hinder or avert the action of the proteins that lead to the brain tissue deterioration.


An, M. C., Zhang, N., Scott, G., Montoro, D., Wittkop, T., Mooney, S., & Ellerby, L. M. (2012). Genetic correction of Huntington’s disease phenotypes in induced pluripotent stem cells. Cell Stem Cell, 11(2), 253-263.

Chial, H. (2008). HuntingtonLs disease: The discovery of the Huntingtin gene. Nature Education, 1(1), 71.

MacLeod, R., Tibben, A., Frontali, M., Evers‐Kiebooms, G., Jones, A., Martinez‐Descales, A., & Roos, R. A. (2013). Recommendations for the predictive genetic test in Huntington’s disease. Clinical Genetics, 83(3), 221-231.

Pringsheim, T., Wiltshire, K., Day, L., Dykeman, J., Steeves, T., & Jette, N. (2012). The incidence and prevalence of Huntington’s disease: A systematic review and meta‐analysis. Movement Disorders, 27(9), 1083-1091.

Tabrizi, S. J., Reilmann, R., Roos, R. A., Durr, A., Leavitt, B., Owen, G., & Kennard, C. (2012). Potential endpoints for clinical trials in premanifest and early Huntington’s disease in the TRACK-HD study: Analysis of 24 month observational data. The Lancet Neurology, 11(1), 42-53.