Tracks of HD Tears: HD Buzz on new markers of HD progression 

Researchers from Germany and the Netherlands have been developing a new tool to investigate HD in a non-invasive way. The collaboration between academic researchers and pharmaceutical companies found that huntingtin protein was detectable in human tears. Biomarkers like huntingtin protein are things we can measure to give a snapshot of what is happening in a person’s body. They are important for tracking the health of someone with HD, and to determine whether an intervention or medication is successful. Non-invasive biomarkers like tears could allow for affordable and accessible options to track the progression of HD. Read more about this research in the most recent article from HDBuzz, here.  

Attitudes towards Huntington’s Disease Genetic Testing – A research study 
Deciding whether to go through genetic testing for Huntington’s disease is difficult. That’s why a team of researchers (Professor Simona Botti at the London Business School, Dr. Selin Goksel at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and Dr. Nazli Gurdamar-Okutur at Koc University) has created a research study which aims to understand the psychological impacts of genetically testing for Huntington’s disease. 

The study consists of filling in a 5-minute online survey that assesses participants’ current psychological well-being. The researchers are looking specifically for individuals who have already started developing symptoms of Huntington’s disease. The researchers will donate $2 to HDSA for each participant who fills out the survey completely. If you are interested, please click on the following link to take the survey! Your effort is very much appreciated. 

This Week in HD history 

On April 13th, 1872, George Huntington published a paper called “On Chorea,” describing the disease that would come to be known by his name. He was a medical student studying at Columbia University and grew up on Long Island, New York, where his father and grandfather were physicians. In this relatively isolated community, the three doctors saw families with symptoms of a disease that affected their minds and their movements. Huntington was not actually the first to describe the symptoms, but he was the first to do it concisely, publicly, and with extraordinary accuracy for a person of his time. He understood that the disorder ran in families, causing changes in mood and personality as well as uncontrollable movements, known as “chorea” after the ancient Greek word for dance. He also correctly reported that if the disease was not passed down from parent to child, then the chain was broken, a remarkable deduction in a time before the wider study of genetics. Huntington publicized what was then thought to be a very rare and unknown disease, and his paper is still cited today by scientists writing about the origins of HD research.