Scientists of UCLA have found out evidence that sheds new light on the details of how Huntington's disease affects the brain cells of the patient.
Huntington's disease is a genetic disorder that slowly destroys the ability of the person to think or move on his own. Early symptoms of the disease may be depression, mood swings, forgetfulness, and inability to concentrate or remember. In severe condition, the person is unable to take care of himself, and may die of infection, choking or cardiac arrest.
While a previous theory had held that a protein forms within the brain cells and kills them causing the genetic neurological disorder, the new research reveals that the protein that rises in the brain cells reacts with the neighboring cells to kill the cells surrounding it.
Researchers feel that the findings are important as the entire treatment of the disease is based on the fact that target cells are the place which gives rise to the Huntington's disease. The new information regarding the HD protein affecting the surrounding cells that lead to the death of the target cells, may lead to a different but more effective method of treatment for the disease patients.
The findings will be reported in the current issue of Neuron.
Reference: UCLA news release, May 2005