Scientists Now Believe Huntington’s Disease Affects the Brain and Muscles
Up until recently, doctors considered Huntington’s disease a progressive, hereditary disease that progressively kills nerve cells in the brain. However, new research from Wright State University and California State Polytechnic University has doctors exploring the disease’s effects on muscles.
Before the study, doctors equated the muscle spasms and poor coordination to the damage brain cells sustained. A faulty gene that causes a disruption in the translation of DNA is responsible for this damage. The disruption causes the production of the huntingtin protein, which causes a malfunction of cells.
In a previous study, which used mice with early-onset Huntington’s disease, the same research team identified defective skeletal muscles in the later stage of the disease. These mice also had reduced function of the CIC-1 protein that in turn causes hyperexcitability of the muscle cells.
Looking at the DNA code that causes the CIC-1 protein development, the new study found a defect in the encoding of messenger RNA of CIC-1 in young mice with or without Huntington’s. The difference was as the healthy mice matured, they lost this defect, while it continued in the Huntington’s mice and eventually caused the muscle-related symptoms.
The results of this study, published in The Journal of General Physiology, support a theory that further study could make improvements in the tracking of Huntington’s disease by targeting skeletal muscle tissue to look for biomarkers of disease progression.
Huntington’s Disease Automatically Qualifies You for Disability Benefits
Huntington’s disease is a severely disabling, fatal disease. The Social Security Administration understands that people with Huntington’s suffer from symptoms so severe that they absolutely cannot work. Through the Compassionate Allowances Program, simply having a diagnosis of this condition can qualify you for Social Security disability benefits.
Even with a proper diagnosis, you still need to file for your benefits. Call the Disability Help Group at 800-800-2009 for assistance with your disability claim.