Huntington’s disease research news. In plain language. Written by scientists. For the global HD community.
The family and friends of individuals with HD often tell doctors that they began to notice changes in behavior long before a diagnosis was made. To better understand these early signs, researchers analyzed a psychological questionnaire filled out yearly for a decade by thousands of HD mutation carriers and their companions. The companions were more likely to perceive worsening symptoms over time.
Many Huntington's disease patients suffer from depression. New mouse work from Asa Petersen's group in Lund, Sweden, suggests that part of the brain called the "hypothalamus" might play a role in this symptom of HD.
The results of a two-year study of HD mutation carriers, called TRACK-HD, have just been released. These results prove that a number of changes, including thinking ability and brain changes, occur early in people carrying the HD mutation. Most importantly, these changes are suitable for use as endpoints in future clinical trials for drugs to prevent or delay the onset of HD.
TRACK-HD, an observational trial of people carrying the HD mutation has released data describing changes over the first year of the study. These data show that a number of changes can be robustly observed in a single year of observing HD patients, which could be used to help plan drug trials. Brain imaging, in particular, was able to clearly see changes caused by the HD mutation.