Huntington’s Chorea, is a fatal hereditary and progressive brain disorder. You can’t “catch” it from another person. Every child of a parent with HC has a 50/50 chance of carrying the faulty gene. There are approximately 30,000 symptomatic Americans with more than 200,000 at-risk of inheriting the disease.
Although symptoms may first show up in midlife, Huntington’s can strike from childhood to advanced age. Over 10 to 25 year span, the disease gradually kills nerve cells in the brain. This affects the body, mind, and emotions.
Symptoms include involuntary movements, mobility problems, and cognitive impairment.
There is currently no cure for Huntington’s disease and there are no treatments that can slow its progression. Current medications can only help people to manage symptoms of the condition. A drug called tetrabenazine can help to ease chorea, for example, but not cure it.
Huntington’s Chorea: New Treatment May Slow Huntington’s
Huntington’s disease is caused by a mutation in the huntingtin (HTT) gene, which is inherited from a parent. A mutation in the HTT gene significantly increases protein levels. High protein levels causes involuntary movements, mobility problems, and severe cognitive impairment.
Previous research has shown that fasting may benefit people with other progressive neurological conditions, such as multiple sclerosis.
Therefore, in a recent follow up study using mouse models, researchers restricted mice access to food, so they were only able to eat during the same 6-hour period every day. They fasted for the remaining 18 hours.
Huntington’s Chorea: Study Results
Results showed that fasting triggered a process called autophagy , the cells’ self-cleaning process, in which damaged components are removed. Consequently, the high protein levels in the mutant HTT genes were reduced. Symptoms were also reduced.
Furthermore, mice that possessed only a modified version of the HTT gene did not develop symptoms of Huntington’s chorea and had higher protein reduction rates.
Huntington’s Chorea: Study Conclusions
Fasting succeeded in reducing abnormal high protein levels in Huntington mutant brain cells. Eating only at certain very regulated times without snacking in between meals, also reduced Huntington symptoms.
These results suggest that fasting may be effective in slowing down the advancement of Huntington’s Chorea and improve quality of life.