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My grandmother's brothers have HD, will I?

December 29, 2015

Huntington's Disease Youth Organization

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My grandmother's brothers have HD, will I?

Q. 4 of my grandma’s brothers are HD affected. She is showing up to now only major depression symptoms. are high the chances my father and I will be affected by HD?

Madalica, Young Adult, Italy

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A. Dear Madalica,

Many thanks for your question. I was a little unsure whether your grandmother has been diagnosed with HD (and/or had a genetic test that shows she carries the HD gene)? If she has, there would be a 50% (1 in 2) chance that your father inherited it. If your father remains well / untested, there would therefore currently be a 25% (1 in 4) chance that you carry the HD gene. This HDYO article http://it.hdyo.org/eve/articles/50 describes this in more detail (in Italian!).

If your grandmother has not been diagnosed / tested, it is a bit more difficult to assess the chances for you/your father, as in that situation her symptoms of depression may be unrelated to HD, and if she does not carry the HD gene expansion, there would be no increased risk for you/your father.

If you haven’t already, I would encourage you (and/or any other family members) to see your local Genetics service, as they would be able to give more detailed information tailored to your family, should you wish. Your local doctor should be able to help organise this.

If you have any further queries, or if you have any difficulty accessing your local genetics service. please do not hesitate to get back to us.

Best wishes