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Medical News & Perspectives
January 12, 2011

Imaging Helps to Identify Early Changes Associated With Huntington Disease

JAMA. 2011;305(2):138. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1924

Imaging can help to identify early brain changes in patients who have not yet developed Huntington disease and in those in the early stages of the disease, according to the results of a large international longitudinal study. The findings may help provide useful biomarkers for disease progress that can be used to assess the effects of potential therapeutic agents for the disorder.

Huntington disease is an autosomal dominant genetic disorder that leads to progressive loss of cognitive, emotional, and motor function and eventually results in death. There is a genetic test that can identify with certainty individuals who have inherited the gene for the disorder. No treatments are available to cure the disorder or slow its progression, but potential therapeutic strategies are under investigation.