Huntington's Disease

Essay by Anonymous UserHigh School, 11th gradeA-, July 1996

download word file, 4 pages 2.6 1 reviews

Old essay, lots o' content, just needs a good proofread -


Huntington's disease, also known as Huntington's chorea is a genetic

disorder that usually shows up in someone in their thirties and forties,

destroys the mind and body and leads to insanity and death within ten to

twenty years. The disease works by degenerating the ganglia (a pair of nerve

clusters deep in the brain that controls movement, thought, perception, and

memory) and cortex by using energy incorrectly. The brain will starve the

neurons (brain cells), and sometimes make them work harder than usual,

causing extreme mental stress. The result is jerky, random, uncontrollable,

rapid movement such as grimacing of the face, flailing of arms and legs, and

other such movement. This is known as chorea.

Huntington's chorea is hereditary and is caused by a recently discovered

abnormal gene, IT15. IT stands for 'interesting transcript' because of the

fact that researchers have no idea what the gene does in the body.

Huntington's disease is an inherited mutation that produces extra copies of

a gene sequence (IT15) on the short arm of chromosome 4. A genetic base that

exists in triplicate, CAG for short, is effected by Huntington's disease. In

normal people, the gene has eleven to thirty-four of these, but, in a victim

of Huntington's disease the gene exists from anywhere between thirty-five to

one-hundred or more. The gene for the disease is dominant, giving children

of victims of Huntington's disease a 50% chance of obtaining the disease.

Several other symptoms of the disease exist other than chorea. High levels

of lactic acid have been detected in patients of Huntington's disease as a

bi-product of the brain cells working too hard. Also, up to six times above

the normal level of an important brain brain protein, bFGF (or...