Huntington’s disease research news. In plain language. Written by scientists. For the global HD community.
Using a new brain scanning technique for the first time in HD, researchers have found that people with Huntington's disease may have increased sodium levels in their brains. But what does increased sodium actually mean? Why do we have sodium in our brains at all - isn't it just salt? And why might a 'salty brain' be bad?
Amongst the general population, cancer is one of the most feared killers. HD families might be forgiven for not thinking much about cancer, given the more obvious clear and present danger. But it turns out that there might be a connection between the mutation that causes HD and the risk of developing cancer, which could help us understand both conditions.
In April, the American drug regulator told NeuroSearch it would need a further large clinical trial before its Huntington's disease symptom-control drug Huntexil would be licensed. Now the European regulator, the EMA, has said the same for European licensing.
Trials of new treatments for Huntington's disease are happening, but proving whether a drug works requires lots of suitable volunteers. Surprisingly, finding enough volunteers is often difficult. Now a group of HD professionals has shown that education and outreach to patients in the community works well for boosting recruitment.
By popular request, a special feature article on the often confusing topic of 'intermediate alleles' and 'reduced penetrance' – the genetic 'gray area' that frequently comes up in discussions around genetic testing for Huntington's disease.
Dimebon, an experimental drug marketed by Medivation, fails to improve the symptoms of Huntington’s disease patients in the HORIZON trial. This is the end of the road for developing this drug for HD.
NeuroSearch, the developer of experimental Huntington's disease drug Huntexil, has reported on their meeting with the FDA. The FDA requires that another trial be conducted before Huntexil could be approved in the US.
Scientists have successfully used viruses to deliver genes to the brains of Parkinson’s Disease patients. The gene carried by the viruses improved the movement symptoms of patients receiving injections. This proves that gene therapy in the brain can work, providing hope for similar therapies in HD.
We all know that exercise and staying active are good for everyone, whether or not they are at risk of developing HD. A new study of lifestyle activities in people with the HD mutation suggests that staying active is even more important in HD, and that passive habits – especially during the teenage years – might be one factor that can cause earlier onset of HD symptoms.