Health Watch — Neurological Problems: Huntington's Disease

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

The brain and nervous system are our control center, and when neurological problems arise, the effects can be seen throughout the body. This week on Health Watch, we’ll talk about some diseases and conditions that affect the brain and nervous system.

Huntington’s disease is a fatal genetic disorder in which certain brain cells die. This loss of brain cells leads to uncontrolled movements and loss of mental ability. There’s no known cure, but there are medications that can relieve symptoms or slow the progression of the disease. Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found a way to use cultured nerve cells to compare different drugs. Dr. Ilya Bezprozvanny, a UT Southwestern physiologist, says this allows doctors to get a side-by-side comparison on how well the drugs keep cells alive in conditions that mimic Huntington’s disease thus far. The researchers have identified two particular drugs that are most effective.


March 2007

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