Juvenile Huntington’s disease (JHD) occurs when a child or adolescent under the age of 20yrs develops the symptoms of HD. JHD is a rare form of the disease, with prevalence estimates placing it at approximately 5-10% of all cases. In the majority of cases (but not all), the child with JHD has inherited the faulty gene from their father.
The symptoms of JHD also differ slightly to that of the adult form of Huntington’s disease. JHD is characterised by rigidity and leg stiffness, tremors and clumsiness. Involuntary movements whilst prominent in adults are less common in the juvenile cases.
Children also experience changes in their behaviour, personality and their cognition including learning difficulties. A decline in their school/educational performance as well as changes in their mood (angry or frustrated) can be early signs of the disease. They may also experience seizures. Seizures have not been associated with adult onset.
What JHD and adult onset have in common is that currently there is no cure or effective treatment. However JHD is more rapidly progressive than the adult onset. Furthermore a child with JHD, is also likely to have a parent who is also suffering from HD at the same time, placing enormous stress on the family caring for both members.
For detailed information on Juvenile HD please click here http://hdsa.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Juvenile-Onset-HD_Family-Fuide-Series.pdf