New study identifies early signs of Huntington’s disease. It is an incurable, hereditary brain disorder that damages brain cells. Psychiatric and cognitive symptoms are common in Huntington's disease.
Previous researches have focused on movement impairment, a symptom associated with the disease. Now, a new study identified that the disease affects the emotional brain - the limbic system – in the earlier stage.
Huntington's disease is incurable. It causes uncontrolled movements, emotional problems, and loss of thinking ability (cognition). Early signs and symptoms can include irritability, depression, small involuntary movements, poor coordination, and trouble learning new information or making decisions.
New research shows that the disease affects the emotional brain at an early stage and this can lead to the development of psychiatric and cognitive symptoms. Also, oligodendrocytes, which enable communication between different parts of the brain, gets affected early in the course of the disease.
New findings reveal that there is also a need to study the white matter in the emotional brain. Why oligodendrocytes are gets affected by mutant huntingtin? Is it possible to slow down Huntington's disease by affecting the changes that we have identified?"
"It is still a mystery why certain cells are sensitive to the protein mutation and why the disease starts to break out at a certain time, even though it was there all along. However, our study shows for the first time that changes in the oligodendrocytes in the emotional brain are expressed in the brains of individuals suffering from Huntington's disease," says researcher and first author of the study, Sanaz Gabery.