Huntington’s Chorea, Alzheimer’s Disease
Huntington’s chorea has long been recognized as a specific, highly heritable disorder and is often used as a textbook example of a disease that is inherited as an autosomal dominant single-gene abnormality. It has been estimated to occur in 54.3 persons per million in the U.S. It is more tragic than senility or other degenerative conditions because of the early onset of symptoms (frequently in the fourth decade of life) and because it often destroys the personality completely. Although symptoms most often begin between 30 and 40 years of age, it has been known to start in adolescence or the early 20s. Initial signs include muscle discoordination that is expressed by choreic movements, facial ticks and, later, personality changes that may lead to temporary mis-diagnosis. As the disease progresses, both the mental and motor deterioration become progressively worse. The mental deterioration assumes the form of dementia. Thus, memory is impaired as is the ability to think and reason clearly. These changes are frequently accompanied by symptoms of depression. In the final stage, the patient is in constant, jerky movement, totally unable to take care of bodily functions and may need to be nursed professionally.
KeywordsDepression Dementia Tuberculosis Meningioma Hydrocephalus
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