Huntington’s disease research news. In plain language. Written by scientists. For the global HD community.
Cognitive deficits, or difficulties thinking clearly, often appear well before the traditional clinical diagnosis of Huntington’s disease (HD). While many contend that the earliest cognitive deficits are caused by damage to the striatum – a structure deep in the brain known to be severely affected in HD – recent evidence suggests that this claim may paint an incomplete picture of the widespread changes occurring in the brains of HD patients during the very early stages of the disease.
Common depictions of HD emphasizing only its movement symptoms paint an incomplete picture of the real disease. HD causes both motor and non-motor symptoms that, together, affect the entire body. Now, scientists are using a broader lens to explore this full set of HD symptoms and determine how symptoms might be related in the disease.
Thinking problems in Huntington’s disease take a huge toll from early in the disease. Now, new work suggests that a drug already approved by the FDA to treat another brain disease – multiple sclerosis – may stave off these problems in HD mice. Could these results be real, or are they too good to be true?
The results of a new study called PRECREST, investigating whether the nutritional supplement creatine can slow Huntington's disease progression, have just been published. Uniquely, this studied the effects of high-dose creatine supplementation in people carrying the HD mutation, but without clear disease symptoms.
Here's Buzzilia, video 2: highlights and interviews from the World Congress on Huntington's disease 2013 in Rio de Janeiro. Jeff and Ed discuss biomarkers and talk to Dr Ralf Reilmann about quantitative motor assessment, and Dr Julie Stout about cognitive problems.
Thinking skills and disordered control of gene switching are both problems in Huntington's disease. Now Spanish researchers have linked the two, through a protein called CBP. And a 'histone deacetylase inhibitor' drug can prevent both problems in HD mice.
A leading HD researcher is studying how well sheep adapt to change. Believe it or not, this work could be important for the development of cutting-edge treatments for HD.
A drug used to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease might be beneficial in HD through altering the balance of good and bad messages coming into neurons. New research in HD mice suggests that low doses of memantine might be best, and hopefully a planned trial of low-dose memantine in HD patients will give us the answer.
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.