Arches. Photo by Daniel Chia
HOPES: Huntington's Outreach Project for Education, at Stanford
Apr
07
2013

Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol)

Vitamin D has been called the “miracle vitamin” by many health experts due to mounting discoveries of its significance in promoting health and fighting numerous diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. It may also be therapeutic for neurodegenerative diseases, which may be relevant to Huntington’s disease (HD). This particular vitamin is found in many [...]

Jan
27
2013

Melatonin

It has long been known that melatonin, a hormone produced in the brain, plays an important role in regulating the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle by causing drowsiness and inducing sleep. The pineal gland, a small structure located beneath the center of the brain produces and releases melatonin in response to the intensity and type of [...]

Jun
29
2011

About Free Radical Damage

Aside from impaired energy production, damage to the mitochondria leads also to increased production of toxic molecules called free radicals. Compounds called antioxidants act as free radical scavengers by initiating reactions that make free radicals non-toxic to cells. Evidence indicates that damage by free radicals is a contributing factor to the pathology of HD. Consequently, [...]

Jun
29
2010

Mithramycin

Drug Summary: Mithramycin (also known as MIT and plicamycin) is an antibiotic that binds to DNA to regulate transcription. It attaches to specific regions of DNA that are rich in guanine and cytosine. While it is currently prescribed for the treatment of certain types of cancer and a few other conditions, recent research shows that it is helpful in treating motor symptoms and prolonging life in a mouse model of HD.

Jun
29
2010

Vitamin E

Drug Summary: Vitamin E is a lipid-soluble vitamin that protects cell membranes and other lipid-containing substances in the body from free radical damage by interacting directly with free radicals and neutralizing them. Vitamin E could potentially help treat neurodegenerative diseases such as HD by protecting nerve cell membranes (which are made of lipids) from oxidation by free radicals, which can lead to cell death.

Jun
29
2010

Vitamin C

Drug summary: Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, has been shown to have antioxidant properties. Research shows that in nerve cells, vitamin C has the ability to directly react with free radicals to prevent oxidative stress, which contributes to the progression of the HD disease process. (For more information on free radicals and antioxidants, [...]

Jun
29
2010

Lipoic Acid

Treatment summary: Lipoic acid is a coenzyme present in the mitochondria of cells. It helps to produce energy by aiding enzymes in breaking down sugar during the Krebs cycle. The body makes enough lipoic acid to fulfill its basic metabolic functions, but the compound can also act as an antioxidant when it is in excess. Lipoic acid is special because it is the only antioxidant that is able to deactivate free radicals that are both fat-soluble and water-soluble. (For more information on free radicals and antioxidants, click here.) Because of its antioxidant properties, lipoic acid is being investigated as a possible treatment for HD.

Jun
29
2010

Selenium

Drug Summary: Selenium is a mineral found in small quantities that is essential to the diet. Selenium contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system and the thyroid gland. It is the central element in glutathione peroxidase (GPx), an antioxidant enzyme that protects cells against the oxidative damage caused by peroxides and free radicals. [...]

Jun
29
2010

Coenzyme-Q10

Huntington’s Disease (HD) is associated with a genetic mutation that results in an expanded polyglutamine chain in the huntingtin protein. In HD, huntingtin becomes a misfolded protein, which can cause many problems for the nerve cell. Scientists have not yet found a straightforward way to explain how a single genetic mutation can lead to the complex symptoms of HD. It is thought that misfolded huntingtin damages the nerve cell in many different ways.

Jun
29
2010

Ginkgo Biloba

Drug Summary: Ginkgo biloba has been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Because free radicals and inflammation are believed to be factors involved in the progression of HD, Ginkgo biloba may help in alleviating the symptoms of HD. However, no studies have been done yet on the effects of Ginkgo biloba on people with [...]