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Huntington's Disease

In 1872, the American physician George Huntington wrote about an illness that he called "an heirloom from generations away back in the dim past." He was not the first to describe the disorder, which has been traced back to the Middle Ages at least. One of its earliest names was chorea,* which, as in "choreography," is the Greek word for dance. The term chorea describes how people affected with the disorder writhe, twist, and turn in a constant, uncontrollable dance-like motion. Later, other descriptive names evolved. "Hereditary chorea" emphasizes how the disease is passed from parent to child. "Chronic progressive chorea" stresses how symptoms of the disease worsen over time. Today, physicians commonly use the simple term Huntington's disease (HD) to describe this highly complex disorder that causes untold suffering for thousands of families.

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Understanding Huntington's Disease

  • All About Huntington Disease - Interactive Tutorial with Videos (Dolan DNA Learning Center)
  • Huntington Disease (Genetics Home Reference - NIH)
  • Huntington's Disease (MedlinePlus)
  • Huntington's Disease (ADAM)
  • Huntington's Disease: Hope Through Research (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)
  • Juvenile Huntington disease (Office of Rare Disease Research - NIH)

  • Commonly Asked Questions


    View All Q&As

  • Can People Without a Family History of Huntington Disease Still Develop it?
  • How Can I Help Someone with Huntington's Disease Who is Having Swallowing Problems? (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association)
  • How Do People Inherit Huntington Disease? (Genetics Home Reference - NIH)
  • Is Genetic Testing for Huntington Disease Available? (Office of Rare Disease Research - NIH)
  • What are the Major Effects of Huntington Disease? (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)
  • What Can I Do to Help Someone with Huntington's Disease Communicate? (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association)
  • What Tests Will My Doctor Order to Confirm that I Have Huntington Disease? (Office of Rare Disease Research - NIH)
  • Why Might an At-Risk Asymptomatic Adult Seek Testing for Huntington Disease? (Office of Rare Disease Research - NIH)
  • How Can I Learn About Research Involving Huntington Disease? (Office of Rare Disease Research - NIH)
  • What Research is Being Done on Huntington Disease? (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)

  • Additional Information

  • Symptoms and Tests
  • Treatment
  • Complications
  • The Body
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    The Ohio State University

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    Last Updated: Mar 07, 2014