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Informative genetic testing is currently available to individuals with clinical symptoms suggestive of Huntington disease (HD) and family members of individuals diagnosed with HD. Current research is focused on understanding the cellular basis of HD to inform future treatments and provide the basis for a possible cure.
The benefits of genetic testing for HD are limited and mainly relate to the individual’s perception of the psychological advantages of knowing whether he or she is predisposed to developing HD. There remains no cure or effective preventive therapy for the disease.
The complete Gene Messenger—Huntington Disease by the GenetiKit research team is available on CFPlus.* Past Gene Messenger articles can be accessed on-line at www.cfp.ca. On the home page, click on Collections in the left-hand menu, then click on Genetics.
Funding was provided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
The GenetiKit research team, a group of family physicians, genetic counselors and geneticists, designed the Gene Messenger series to provide practical information to help family physicians and their patients make informed choices about rapidly emerging genetic discoveries. The series is a collection of up-to-date, definitive, short reviews on genetics topics that have made headlines, and offers recommendations regarding referral for genetic services or testing.
*The Gene Messenger on Huntington disease is available at www.cfp.ca. Go to the full text of this article on-line, then click on CFPlus in the menu at the top right-hand side of the page.