Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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First Signs

App that evaluates those at risk of Huntington's disease for early signs

22 June 2019

First Signs

Huntington’s disease is a devastating though thankfully rare neurodegenerative condition in which a patient suffers progressively worsening neurological symptoms, starting in middle age, that include involuntary movements, difficulty speaking and walking, memory loss, confusion, and delusion. The disease is almost always inherited, with offspring of a sufferer having on average a 50 percent chance of developing the condition. Although the mutation responsible has been identified, there is no cure and treatments are limited to managing and alleviating symptoms. Early diagnosis is therefore critical for giving patients the best chance of receiving the correct care and having the best possible quality of life. To that end, computer scientists have developed an app (pictured) with tasks designed to evaluate the user’s motor and cognitive skills, as well as speech. The idea is that high-risk individuals could regularly test themselves and, at the earliest signs of disease, seek the clinical care they need.

Written by Ruth Williams

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