Huntington's Disease Essay

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Huntington's Disease

A shadow of love doesn't have arms to embrace you, to make you feel wanted and secure.
It only blocks out the warmth of what could be.
-Jean Miller, a woman whose daughter Kelly died of Huntington's Disease

A woman stares pensively out her bedroom window. Today is her twenty-seventh birthday. Most people have the whole rest of their lives to look forward to when staring out the window at this age, but not Sylvia. She isn't sure. Ten years ago her mother was diagnosed with Huntington's Disease, a late-onset genetic disorder, and Sylvia was forced to watch her mother deteriorate to the point where she could no longer take care of herself. Sylvia and her brother had to put their mother in a home. Now
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The most characteristic feature, and the symptom which is used to first diagnosis Huntington's, is chorea. Chorea can be characterized by a series of tics affecting the face and limbs. In more advanced Huntington's the chorea turns into athetosis or dystonia in which the affected person experiences a "writhing quality" (Furtado 7). There are other characteristics of this deadly disease too in which the patient slowly loses control of all involuntary movements. Eye movement abnormalities are sometimes excessive blinking or gazing. There are psychological and sexual changes as well as cognitive dysfunction and a decline of memory. Patients usually become irritable, impulsive, and highly suspicious of others. They also experience depression, become anti-social, and develop delusional thinking. There is a high suicide rate among those with Huntington's, but there is a discrepancy about whether it is because of the depression, or because the disease is emotionally painful and lethal without any hope of recovery. As far as sexual activity is concerned, people either become hyper-sexual, hypo-sexual, or take part in exhibitionism. Reduction in number of words produced, difficulty in comprehension and articulation as well as visuospatial problems are some of the cognitive dysfunctions. Recognition memory in patients with this disease is usually normal, but remote memory in which people try to recall the past, or even the present, is what

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