Huntington’s disease research news. In plain language. Written by scientists. For the global HD community.
Beyond affecting movement, mood, and thinking, HD involves a complex set of changes to the body that can be difficult to predict in different individuals. Recently, researchers were able to identify consistent early changes in metabolism by studying a group of HD sheep. This large animal model is helping scientists to track altered substances in the blood that could predict HD progression and response to treatment.
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.
What happens when you have a broken part in a machine? You fix it! A new study shows that increasing the activity a critical piece of machinery called ‘mTORC1’ in a mouse model of Huntington’s disease leads to improved motor problems and brain abnormalities associated with the disease. These recently published findings may offer scientists a new target for therapeutic development in HD.
The brains of Huntington's disease patients seem to have problems making enough energy. Giving brains an energy boost might help with HD, but getting extra fuel into the brain is difficult. A new study from France reveals that feeding HD patients a special kind of fat improved their brain's energy levels. This opens the door for new studies to test whether this improvement in energy could help with HD symptoms.
CREST-E, the largest clinical trial of the dietary supplement creatine, has been terminated early because an early analysis of the results to date showed there was no realistic chance it could show positive results. This provides compelling evidence that creatine doesn't slow down progression in Huntington's disease patients.
The largest ever therapeutic trial for Huntington's disease was halted early this week because an analysis of the results to date showed that it was very unlikely to show positive results. The study, called 2CARE, was designed to test whether a treatment called coenzyme Q10 could slow the progression of HD.
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.
The brain is a very hungry organ, but does it consume energy differently in Huntington's disease? A team led by David Eidelberg of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research has been studying the patterns of energy consumption in the brains of people carrying the HD mutation. Changes in how much sugar the brain uses are seen even before the brain starts to change physically, suggesting this might be a useful thing to track in HD clinical trials.
Huntington's disease patients seem to have a lot of changes outside the brain, but these issues haven't yet been studied in great detail. New evidence reveals that Huntington's Disease mutation carriers have differences in liver function, even before they have symptoms of HD. This new finding might help us understand the metabolic changes experienced by HD patients, which are currently poorly understood and under-studied.