Neurology: Parkinson’s vs. Huntington’s Disease

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The patients with Parkinson’s disease are majorly older adults who live in the countryside, are exposed to pesticides, or have some genetic factors. Theories of neuronal loss include inflammation, oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, abnormalities in protein handling (Hayes, 2019). Stroke increases the risk of acquiring the disease (Jagadeesan, A. J. et al., 2017). At the same time, for Huntington’s disease, manifestation in adults of 30-40 is typical. It is caused by “a dominantly inherited CAG trinucleotide repeat expansion in the huntingtin gene on chromosome 4” (McColgan & Tabrizi, 2018, p. 24). Inheritance patterns of Parkinson’s disease also include genetic mutation, while Huntington’s disease is mostly directly inherited (McColgan & Tabrizi, 2018). Both conditions are characterized by motor disturbance, cognitive and psychiatric problems.

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Parkinson’s disease symptoms:

  • bradykinesia, tremor, hypomimia, postural instability, and akinesia.
  • cognitive decline, anxiety, anosmia, depression, dysautonomia, and sleep disturbance.
  • nausea, bloating, abdominal discomfort, abnormal urinary function.
  • Paranoid ideation and hallucinations in the setting of taking dopaminergic treatments (Hayes, 2019)

Huntington’s symptoms:

  • bradykinesia, tremor, eye movements, dystonia, alternating hand movements, gait, chorea, etc.
  • impaired emotion recognition, speech problems, visuospatial dysfunctions.
  • irritability, apathy, psychosis, obsessive-compulsive behavior, anxiety, depression (McColgan & Tabrizi, 2018).

Both Parkinson’s and Huntington’s are progressive and incurable neurodegenerative diseases. They result in death and progressive neuronal dysfunction over a rather long period. At the moment, there are no disease-modifying treatments, only supportive and symptomatic management. Coping strategies, cognitive behavioral therapy and psychodynamic therapy, rehabilitation with massage and exercise, family education also could be provided.

For Parkinson’s disease, the following interventions are used:

  • Therapy of the motor symptoms – by dopaminergic medications (Levodopa, dopamine agonists), often with deep brain stimulation (Hayes, 2019).
  • Drugs to slow dopamine breakdown (MAO-B inhibitors, COMT inhibitors), amantadine, anticholinergics, a diet with cruciferous vegetables.
  • Gene and stem cell therapy, atremorine, ultrasound treatment, active immunization therapy is among evolving strategies (Jagadeesan, A. J. et al., 2017).

Management of Huntington’s disease might involve the following methods:

  • Tetrabenazine, deutetrabenazine, sulpiride to treat chorea, physiotherapy for other motor symptoms.
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, neuroleptics for psychiatric disturbances, anti-cholinesterase inhibitors.
  • DNA and RNA targeting therapies are among evolving strategies.

Both diseases are stressful and emotionally draining for patients and their families. That is why clients and close people should be educated on the disease’s peculiarities, self-efficacy, coping strategies, and social support (Park, J. et al., 2019). It will help to preserve the desired quality of life for a prolonged period.

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Hayes, M. T. (2019). Parkinson’s disease and parkinsonism. The American Journal of Medicine, 132(7), 802-807. Web.

Jagadeesan, A. J., Murugesan, R., Vimala Devi, S., Meera, M., Madhumala, G., Vishwanathan Padmaja, M., Ramesh, A., Banerjee, A., Sushmitha, S., Khokhlov, A. N., Marotta, F., & Pathak, S. (2017). Current trends in etiology, prognosis and therapeutic aspects of Parkinson’s disease: a review. Acta Bio-Medica: Atenei Parmensis, 88(3), 249–262. Web.

McColgan, P., & Tabrizi, S. J. (2018). Huntington’s disease: a clinical review. European Journal of Neurology, 25(1), 24-34. Web.

Park, J. et al. (2019). Self-efficacy and social support for psychological well-being of family caregivers of care recipients with dementia with Lewy bodies, Parkinson’s disease dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease. Social Work in Mental Health, 17(3), 253-278. Web.

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NursingBird. (2022, July 22). Neurology: Parkinson's vs. Huntington’s Disease. Retrieved from


NursingBird. (2022, July 22). Neurology: Parkinson's vs. Huntington’s Disease.

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NursingBird. "Neurology: Parkinson's vs. Huntington’s Disease." July 22, 2022.