Since April 2000 the mission of the HDLighthouse Families Web site is to present and explain the latest research findings so that families afflicted by Huntington's disease can become proactive in their care, have hope for the future, and make good decisions in the present. Additionally we provide information that is vital to the the support of HD families. Where possible we will direct you to specialists in the your area of concern, but if we are able to provide better or more current information then you'll find it here.

Huntington’s Disease and Social Security Disability Benefits

Like many other illnesses, Huntington’s disease can strike without warning—changing a person’s life forever. In the days, weeks, and months following a diagnosis of Huntington’s disease, it is important to plan for the future. Although it is important to discuss medical and supportive care options, you should also make financial plans.

If you or a loved one has Huntington’s disease, it may become necessary to apply for Social Security Disability benefits. Disability benefits can provide financial support to those who can no longer work due to disability or illness.

Donating Blood With The HD Gene

Will giving blood

It’s fine to give blood when you’ve tested positive for the HD gene. I was a regular donor when I found out I had it and one of the first things I did was to check to see if I could still give. At the time I was a blood drive sponsor for a North Carolina agency and had access to the full Red Cross eligibility manual. It said, “… donors with the Huntington’s Disease gene are acceptable as long as any involuntary movements will not affect the donation process”.

When It’s Time To Quit

I’ve written before about finding excuses not to take proactive steps to fight the Huntington’s Disease demons. I’ll try to never quit that battle. However, there are some times when you have to stop doing something, like driving, to insure your safety and that of everyone else on the road. That’s a very difficult thing to do, since it means losing your freedom and admitting that the disease has gotten the better of you

 

Perspective

Perspective is the ultimate way to be able to put the things that happen in life into proper focus. How we view things has everything to do with how big a deal we make of some things. There are always three choices in any given situation: Give up, give in or give it all you've got. Time is going extremely fast and in just two days from now, tomorrow will already be yesterday.

I had been a Home Support worker for years before I was diagnosed with HD. This would prove to be a huge benefit to me and helped me to put my HD in perspective.

Finding An Excuse to Quit

This past Saturday I ran my annual 50 mile race at the Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run in my hometown of Raleigh, NC.  I have finished the 100 five times and the optional 50 miler 9 times, including this year.  I’m also on the Race Committee and handle registration and awards.

A Lucky Falling Out of Love Story for Valentines Day

I know when we fell in love.  She was dating my roommate in prep school. Yes, I went to a snotty boy’s boarding school in New England.  I wasn’t from a wealthy family, but had a working scholarship.  I worked in the kitchen every day to earn my way through. She was from an old family and went to a snotty private girl’s school.  I’m not sure how it happened – it just did.  I was kind of a jock – co-captain of the hockey team and a starting attackman on the lacrosse team. Maybe that attracted her.  She was smart and physically attractive.

How to Start a Walking Program

We all know that exercise is beneficial for everyone.  It’s particularly important for people with, or at-risk for HD.  A New Year’s resolution made and kept will make you look and feel better.  Do you have to go to a gym 6 days a week and sweat bullets to get in shape?  NO!!!  Do you have to run marathons?  NO!!!  Do you have to spend a fortune on fancy equipment?  NO!!!

My HD Journey

If you are reading this, you have probably been affected by Huntington Disease or know someone who is affected by this terrible disease. For many, Huntington's is like a mugger in the night that stalks your every step. At every turn, every corner your mind sees the shadow of Huntington's following, waiting to strike if it hasn't already. For some twenty five percent of us who are HD positive, there is no family history and no one in the shadows to be concerned with. No symptoms to be watching for that may indicate the need to test.

Zinc Finger Technology: Another Way to Silence the HD Gene

A team of researchers from Barcelona, Spain, led by Dr. Mark Isalan and Dr. Mireia Garraga-Canut, have developed artificial zinc finger protein strands which bind the longer CAG repeat stretches of the HD protein while leaving the normal huntingtin protein gene, neighboring genes, and other genes with CAG repeat stretches unaffected.  They achieved a 60 percent reduction of the HD protein in a mouse model and improved symptoms.

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