Arches. Photo by Daniel Chia
HOPES: Huntington's Outreach Project for Education, at Stanford
Jun
26
2011

About Autophagy

Autophagy is a process by which a cell breaks down and recycles its own components. In normally functioning animal cells, autophagy occurs at a very low level. Autophagy pathways are activated when a cell is running low on nutrients. The cell breaks down already existing proteins and other cell components into their basic building block [...]

Jun
26
2011

About Inflammation

Inflammation, what we commonly know as the swelling, redness, heat, and pain that often accompany injuries, is one of our body’s most important natural defense mechanisms against internal and external threats. The inflammatory process protects our body from damage and disease by releasing cells and mediators that combat foreign substances and help prevent infection. However, [...]

Jun
26
2011

About Glutamate Toxicity

Glutamate is a powerful excitatory neurotransmitter that is released by nerve cells in the brain. It is responsible for sending signals between nerve cells, and under normal conditions it plays an important role in learning and memory. There are two general ways, however, that glutamate can actually be damaging to nerve cells and the brain [...]

Mar
26
2011

Genetic Testing

Individuals at risk for Huntington’s disease (HD) have the option of undergoing genetic testing, which detects the presence or absence of the genetic sequence that causes HD. The decision of whether or not to undergo genetic testing is intensely personal, with many factors to consider. This chapter will provide scientific background information regarding genetic testing for Huntington’s disease

Feb
05
2011

An Introduction to DNA and Chromosomes (Text and Audio)

Listen to this article in mp3 format here: An Introduction to DNA and Chromosomes Let’s start with the basics of genetics. The word “genome” refers to an organism’s complete set of DNA. The fundamental building block of our genome is the molecule known as DNA. You’ve no doubt heard of DNA many times before – in [...]

Feb
05
2011

Huntingtin Protein and Protein Aggregation

What causes the onset of HD? Current research shows that there is an abundance of information to be learned regarding the genetic origins of HD. Let’s trace HD’s beginnings from the molecular level, exploring the relationships between a gene, a protein, aggregation “clumps,” neural cell death, and the disease itself. An Explanation of Terms: Please [...]

Feb
05
2011

Population Genetics Part II: The Future of Huntington’s Disease

In order to make predictions about the future spread or decline of Huntington’s Disease, we can draw upon scientific tools from the field of population genetics (see Part I for an introduction to this field). According to population genetics, genes that make it more difficult for an affected individual to survive to reproductive age will [...]

Feb
05
2011

All About Mutations

With their sword-wielding, karate-chopping, and pizza-eating ways, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles swept American children by storm in the early 1990s. Unfortunately, though they did get kids to sit still for 30 minutes each day, the turtles also contributed to a widely held public misconception about what it means to have a mutation. From watching [...]

Nov
12
2010

Sleep and HD

Humans spend an extraordinary amount of their lives asleep. If you sleep eight hours every night, you will have spent one third of your entire life sleeping. But like coffee or cell phone reception, sleep is one of the most basic aspects of everyday life that you probably take for granted—when you are well-rested, you probably do not think about sleep much, but after you have pulled an all-nighter (or two), you are likely to have a keen perception of your body’s intrinsic drive to go to sleep.

Oct
26
2010

Human Genome Project

What is a Genome? A genome is the complete set of DNA in an organism. The HOPES article DNA and Chromosomes explains that DNA is the biological material that stores information about how to build and run a living organism. So a genome is all of the genetic information for one organism. Every living thing, from [...]