Video: John Paul Jr's fight with Huntington's Disease Huntington's Disease (HD) has affected John Paul Jr., once one of the nation's top professional race car drivers. HD is a devastating genetic disorder that causes uncontrollable body movements and deprives people of their abilities to walk, talk, eat and think rationally. This disease is currently incurable and it is fatal.
The gene that causes HD is a mutant of a normal gene. The defective gene causes chemical changes in nerve cells that damages brain structures leading to symptoms. The process that causes nerve cells to die in HD may have similarities to other, more common, disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Insights into HD may prove useful to understanding these other disorders.
Huntington's Disease is rare but that doesn't make it any less devastating. HD is a tragic reality affecting 30,000 families in America. The facts are grim for HD: There is no cure, it's fatal and because it's rare, funding for research is sparse. But there is hope. Since HD is caused by a type of genetic mutation that is shared by a host of other disorders, solving HD can lead the way to treatments, and ultimately cures for all of them.
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