182 views

Huntington’s disease: Does Fasting Help?

Huntington’s disease: Does Fasting Help?

Huntington’s disease, caused by a faulty gene is a damaging, hereditary, incurable brain disorder, which primarily causes damage to brain cells and neurons. The primary reason for someone to have Huntington’s disease is when this faulty gene produces damaging, toxic proteins that end up collecting in the brain.

This disease is found in one individual among 10000 persons, with a predicted 1,50,000 people predicted to be at risk of contracting this condition. The disease does not have a gender preference and can cause to males as well as females in equal measure, and ideally speaking a child with a parent with the disease or gene will have a 50% chance of having it in their lifetime. The first signs of this disease appear between ages 30 to 50.

Huntington's disease

Some of the factoids on this drastic disease –

  • This is an inherited disorder that over time gradually attacks nerve cells.
  • Huntington’s disease is a reason for a faulty gene that creates an abnormal version of the original huntingtin protein, and the wrong version being toxic.
  • Early symptoms may include the likes of mood swings or any unusual behavior.
  • Many people who suffer from it, at a later part of their lives experience choking as a significant feeling.
  • The disease is incurable; however, some medications help relieve some of the symptoms temporarily.

Researchers in medical science have been continuously working on finding further pieces of evidence and solutions to understand this disease better. During this period they have found medications that are capable of relaxing some of the already existing symptoms, thus providing relief to patients with Huntington’s, albeit temporarily. Currently medical science has no answer in the way of an absolute cure for this disease; however, they have had few breakthroughs in helping patients get some relief or the other from time to time.

Huntington's Disease Facts

Huntington’s disease in children

Huntington’s disease in children is not rare. This being a genetic disorder, meaning a child with a parent suffering from HD will have a 50% chance of inheriting this disease from them. In Huntington diseases’ case, it does not differentiate between gender, which means either a girl or buy from a parent with HD could be prone to inherit the same from them. When children inherit this disease, the symptoms only show up after they pass the 30-year mark; however there are plenty of cases where symptoms arrive by 20 years of age, and in those cases, the condition is known as juvenile Huntington’s disease.

Juvenile Huntington’s disease –

Around 10% of HD diagnosed people have it in the juvenile form. In this form of Huntington’s disease the symptoms from before the age of 20, but also tend to take on a more rapid course afterward. Juvenile HD and the adult versions of the disease are slightly different in many ways, and proper diagnosis will reveal the stark differences among the two types.

However, here are some of the Initial symptoms of Juvenile Huntington’s disease –

  • Slow and stiff movement (rigidity),
  • Tremors
  • Sufferers find it challenging to learn in school
  • Attention deficits
  • Responsive behaviors are increased
  • Seizures

Could Fasting help treat Huntington’s disease?

Huntington's Disease Treatment

One such research points to the fact that Huntington disease could be helped with perioding fasting. It may sound absurd, but this could be one way that could benefit patients with the disease on a day to day basis.

Researchers have found out that prolonged fasting each day could help reduce the mHTT levels in the brain, that primarily causes the damage to the neurons. Some studies were particular in pointing out that restricting food access in the experimental subject to a six-hour window led to significant reductions in the levels of the mutant protein that plays a crucial role in Huntington’s disease.

However, these are only theoretical experiments and not precisely verified regarding human trials. There is speculation that it could indeed work, but with more experimentation shortly.

On the other hand, there have been other progressive neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis have benefitted from fasting, and from research and experiments like these, does the idea that fasting might help Huntington’s emerge.

‘About The Hospital: 

Ankura is a chain of  Children’s Hospital in Hyderabad. Set up in the year 2011 in KPHB, near Hitech Railway Station, the Ankura Hospitals family has today spread its wings to Secunderabad, Khammam, and Vijayawada.