Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

Research and Disability Topics

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Huntington disease

Huntington disease (HD) results from genetically programmed degeneration of brain cells, or neurons, in certain areas of the brain. This degeneration causes uncontrolled movements, loss of intellectual faculties, and emotional disturbance. HD is a familial disease, passed from parent to child through a mutation in the normal gene. The rate of disease progression and the age of onset vary from person to person. A genetic test, coupled with a complete medical history and neurological and laboratory tests, help physician's diagnose HD. Presymptomic testing is available for individuals who are at risk for carrying the HD gene. In 1 to 3 percent of individuals with HD, no family history of HD can be found.

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Services and Programs

  • Family Outreach Center
    Disability-specific programs associated with the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and other organizations at Vanderbilt provide a broad range of treatment, research, technical assistance, education, and outreach services.
  • Tennessee Disability Pathfinder - An internet community and statewide helpline
    Phone, web, and print resources in English and Spanish to connect the Tennessee disability community with service providers. Referral services, free of cost, are provided to persons with disabilities, family members, service providers, and advocates.
  • Tennessee Kindred Stories of Disability
    Families, friends and service providers share their stories about people living with disability in Tennessee.