New study 'identifies key cause of Huntington's'

New study 'identifies key cause of Huntington's'

A new scientific study claims to have identified a key cause of Huntington's disease symptoms.

The accumulation of a mutated protein in the brain may explain the damage to brain cells that occurs in people with Huntington's disease, according to researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in New York.

When the body identifies cells in the brain that need removing, membranes called autophagosomes form around each cell and "drag" them away to be destroyed by sacs of enzymes known as lyosomes, claims study leader Dr Ana Maria Cuervo.

However, the mutated hutingtin protein is resistant, sticking to the membranes and thus not being transported to the lyosomes, the research showed.

Dr Cuervo added: "We should focus on treatments to help autophagosomes recognise intracellular garbage, perhaps by minimising their contact with the defective huntingtin protein.

"By enhancing the clearance of cellular debris, we may be able to keep Huntington's patients free of symptoms for a longer time."

Huntington's disease is an hereditary degenerative nervous disorder which can lead to reduced mobility and dementia, according to the Huntington's Disease Association.

Find out how Barchester works to create safe and understanding environments for those living with Huntington's disease.