Huntington's disease

What is Huntington’s disease?

Huntington’s Disease (HD) is an inherited brain condition that damages nerve cells in the brain. It is progressive and gradually reduces a person’s ability to walk, talk, think and communicate.

Eventually, people suffering from Huntington’s become unable to look after themselves and need full-time care.

There is no cure for Huntington’s and its progress can't be reversed or slowed down.

Who is affected?

Huntington’s is caused by a faulty gene on chromosome 4 which is passed down through families. If someone has a parent with the HD gene, they have a 50/50 chance of inheriting the gene and developing the disease.

It affects both men and women. Symptoms usually develop when people are between 30 and 50 years old and progress relentlessly over the next 10 to 20 years.

Although rare, children too can develop Huntington’s.

In the UK around 12 people per 100,000 are affected by Huntington’s.

How we help

UCL Institute of Neurology has a highly active Huntington’s disease research team, led by Professor Sarah Tabrizi. Its aim is to find out more about Huntington’s and ultimately find a cure.

We have funded:

  • Suzanne Schneider's PhD research on electrophysiological biomarkers in genetic movement disorders.
  • Helen Crawford's PhD research on improving the techniques used to map the brain and monitor the disease’s progression.