Huntington's Disease

Huntington's disease is a disorder passed down through families in which certain nerve cells in the brain waste away, or degenerate. American doctor George Huntington first described the disorder in 1872.

Huntington's disease is caused by a genetic defect on chromosome #4. The defect causes a part of DNA, called a CAG repeat, to occur many more times than it is supposed to. Normally, this section of DNA is repeated 10 to 35 times. But in persons with Huntington's disease, it is repeated 36 to 120 times.

As the gene is passed on from one generation to the next, the number of repeats - called a CAG repeat expansion - tend to get larger. The larger the number of repeats, the greater your chance of developing symptoms at an earlier age. Therefore, as the disease is passed along in families, it becomes evident at younger and younger ages.

Professor Richard Faull

Professor Richard Faull was awarded a Harkness Fellowship in 1975 to undertake post-doctoral research on the brain with leading neuroscientists in the US. In the 30 years since his return to the University of Auckland, where he is now Professor of Anatomy, Richard has established an international reputation for his studies on human brain diseases.
In November 2007 he was awarded New Zealand’s top science award, the Rutherford Medal, by the Royal Society of New Zealand for his innovative research studies on the human brain. He also serves as Chair of the New Zealand Harkness Fellowships Trust Board.

MS Waikato Trust
P O Box 146 Hamilton 3240
Phone 07-834-9982

  Recorded at a special meeting in Hamilton for people interested in research into Huntington's disease, sponsored by MS Waikato Trust in July 2009

"Huntington's Disease and the Human Brain
 - Research Update"

Prof Richard Faull

80 min PAL DVD $10 each
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This lecture was given in Hamilton at a meeting for people interested in the ongoing research into Huntington’s Disease. Professor Faull gave a detailed presentation about the brain and its various ways of functioning, and then showed the connection between the defective chromosome and Huntington's Disease. He detailed some of his on-going research into finding a cure for this disease.
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