"Our observations--made by analyzing the results of the largest group of subjects studied to date--may suggest new methodologies and drug trials for therapy," said Ferdinando Squitieri, M.D., Ph.D., who works in the Neurogenetics Unit and Centre for Rare Diseases of IRCCS Neuromed in Pozzilli, Isernia, Italy. "It is possible to approach the disease at the presymptomatic stage by monitoring the brain tissue volumes and the basal ganglia and cortex dysfunction. If so, we may be able to prevent Huntington's disease before onset symptoms by using proper drugs," added the co-author of "Brain White-Matter Volume Loss and Glucose Hypometabolism Precede the Clinical Symptoms of Huntington's Disease."
Huntington's Disease is a devastating, hereditary, degenerative brain disorder, which slowly diminishes an individual's ability to walk, think, talk and reason. About one out of every 10,000 Americans has the disease, which has one of the highest rates of patient suicide, said Squitieri. The disease profoundly affects the lives of entire families, as an affected person becomes totally dependent on others for his or her care. Each child of a parent affected by the disease has a 50/50 chance of inheriting the gene that causes the disease.
The Huntington's gene has been determined; however, it's unclear how the gene leads to damage of nerve cells in the brain, including the basal ga
Contact: Maryann Verrillo
Society of Nuclear Medicine