Huntington Disease Dementia (cont.)
Idan Sharon, MD
Nestor Galvez-Jimenez, MD
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
Helmi L Lutsep, MD
IN THIS ARTICLE
Exams and Tests
A combination of movement disorders and mental, emotional, or behavioral changes can be caused by several different conditions. Of course, HD is considered first in a person with a known family history. A person having any such combination of symptoms will probably be referred to a specialist in disorders of the brain and nervous system (neurologist).
The neurologist will ask many questions about the symptoms and how they started, other medical problems now and in the past, family medical history, medications, work and travel history, and habits and lifestyle. A detailed physical examination will include tests of movement and sensation, coordination, balance, reflexes and other nervous system functions, and mental status. The main goals of the medical interview and examination are to inventory the exact disabilities and to rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms.
These tests are used to confirm the diagnosis of HD and dementia.
Brain scans can be useful in measuring the extent of brain damage in the disease.
No medical test definitively confirms cognitive decline or dementia in HD. The most accurate way to measure cognitive decline is through neuropsychological testing.
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