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Does my friend with chorea have HD?

January 18, 2014

Huntington's Disease Youth Organization

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Does my friend with chorea have HD?

Q. a close family friends mother passed away from hd in her forties. about a year ago my friend had chorea like symtoms. they lasted almost 6 months. he just turned 30 and the jerking movements have completely stopped. is this common for someone with hd? he refuses to get tested and insists he doesnt have hd. i would be grateful for any feedback.

thank you

Shirley, 30, USA

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A. Dear Shirley,

Thanks for the email. This is an unusual story! It is certainly not common for people with HD to develop chorea-like symptoms and then for them to completely stop. I guess it’s not impossible but I can’t remember ever hearing that story in my clinic. In someone like this it would be reasonable to consider other causes of movement problems. It sounds like he knows about the possibility of HD in the family and the decision about testing, especially if you don’t have clear symptoms is usually difficult. My understanding is that a large majority of people in the US decide against testing (unless they have really obvious symptoms).

Best wishes

Hugh