Huntington’s Disease – Treatment and Prevention of Huntington’s Disease
Huntington’s disease is a genetic disorder that affects the central nervous system. It damages the nerve cells and causes emotional changes, loss of intellectual activities and uncontrollable movements. It is a inheritable disease and passes on through generations. A defective gene on chromosome 4 is responsible for the disease. The disease condition is common among Western Europeans and is known to affect about 3 to 7 in 100,000 individuals in Western Europe. The treatment and prevention of Huntington’s disease are discussed below.
Eventhough Huntington’s disease cannot be cured, it can be treated to reduce the symptoms. Treatment can slow down the period of disease and reduces further complications. Certain treatment methods have been developed for the affected people to lead a normal life.
Doctor may suggest some medications to treat the disease condition. Medications include antidepressants, sedatives, antipschotic drugs, creatinine and dopamine receptor blockers. They help in reducing the symptoms of Huntington’s disease.
- Stem Cell Implantation
In this treatment method, damaged nerve cells are replaced by new stem cells. This helps the person to fight against the disease and reduce the symptoms.
- Intrabody Therapy
This treatment method helps in reducing the severity of symptoms of Huntington’s disease. This therapy uses engineered intracellular antibody fragments. These fragments delay the process of degeneration of nerve cells. Thus the life span of the affected person increases.
Prevention of Huntington’s Disease
There’s no way to prevent Huntington’s disease as it is a hereditary disease. The only measure you can take is going for genetic counselling if you have the family history of Huntington’s disease. The presence of defective gene can be determined through a blood test. A genetic counsellor studies the family history and makes you know about the disease, its effects and the steps to be taken.
If you have a family history of disease, you may be at risk of passing this defect to your children. So it is better to adopt a child and go for any other reproductive methods. The common reproductive method is in vitro fertilization in which the embryos are screened for defective gene of Huntington’s disease. The embryos that do not have defective genes are implanted into uterus of the mother.