Huntington’s disease research news. In plain language. Written by scientists. For the global HD community.

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Frequently asked questions, January 2011

Frequently asked questions, January 2011

Dr Ed Wild on January 07, 2011

The first in a monthly series of FAQ articles covering hot topics and burning issues in the science behind HD.

Getting the data out – a new scientific journal just for HD

Getting the data out – a new scientific journal just for HD

Dr Michael Orth on January 04, 2011

The search for better treatments for HD requires a lot of effort by researchers across the globe. Time is of the essence: the ideal time for a treatment for HD is yesterday. Scientific findings need to be made available sooner rather than later, so that others can build on what is already known. PLoS Currents HD is a new journal launched to speed up the process of scientific discovery in HD.

Dimebon: disappointing in Alzheimer’s but might work in HD

Dimebon: disappointing in Alzheimer’s but might work in HD

Dr Jeff Carroll on December 23, 2010

Dimebon, a drug developed in Russia as an anti-allergy medication, is under investigation as a possible treatment to improve thinking problems in HD. There was disappointment when a recent large trial of Dimebon to treat Alzheimer’s disease in the USA showed no benefit, but hope remains in HD where the DIMOND trial is continuing across Europe.

Focused drug screening leads to improved drugs to increase the rate of cellular recycling

Focused drug screening leads to improved drugs to increase the rate of cellular recycling

Dr Jeff Carroll on December 16, 2010

Build-up of unwanted chemicals in cells is one way the HD mutation causes damage to neurons. A cellular recycling process called autophagy is crucial to getting rid of these harmful chemicals. Now researchers have found a way of identifying safe drugs that can increase the rate of garbage disposal in HD.

Does HD cause brains to develop differently?

Does HD cause brains to develop differently?

Dr Jeff Carroll on December 06, 2010

It has long been known that HD causes brain shrinkage that can be detected using MRI scanning. But new findings from the PREDICT-HD study suggest that the brains of men with the HD might never reach the same size as the brains of people without the mutation during development. That suggests that the HD mutation might be exerting its effects even earlier than we thought.

Are there genetic connections between neurodegenerative diseases?

Are there genetic connections between neurodegenerative diseases?

Dr Jeff Carroll on December 01, 2010

A group of researchers working on ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in yeast cells have found an unexpected genetic link between ALS and SCA-2, a disease in the same genetic family as HD. New links between these diseases might reveal new ways of approaching the search for treatments for diseases like HD.

Is Huntington’s disease twice as common as we thought?

Is Huntington’s disease twice as common as we thought?

Dr Ed Wild on November 27, 2010

In an article in the medical journal The Lancet, Sir Michael Rawlins claims that traditional estimates of how common Huntington’s disease is, might be dramatic underestimates. Why might this be, and what does it mean for the HD community and the search for effective treatments?

Two large HD observational studies – COHORT and Registry – merge to create ENROLL-HD

Two large HD observational studies – COHORT and Registry – merge to create ENROLL-HD

Dr Jeff Carroll on November 24, 2010

When it comes to studying a disease that progresses slowly, like HD, there is strength in numbers. Studying many patients repeatedly over several years can give us powerful insights that can’t be gained through other research techniques. That’s why two of the largest observational studies, COHORT and REGISTRY are joining forces to form ENROLL-HD, the world’s largest ever study of HD patients.

Huntexil for symptoms of Huntington's disease: where are we now?

Huntexil for symptoms of Huntington's disease: where are we now?

Dr Ed Wild on November 16, 2010

2010 was a big year for the small Danish pharmacology company NeuroSearch and its experimental drug, Huntexil, which aims to improve the movements and coordination of people with HD symptoms. What have NeuroSearch's two clinical trials - MermaiHD in Europe and HART in the USA - told us about the possible benefits of Huntexil - and what is likely to happen next?