How does Huntington’s disease affect movement?

People with Huntington’s disease suffer from jerky, random movements, and spasms of their limbs, neck and body. Other symptoms include changes in mood, personality and memory. An area of the brain gradually wastes away as the disease progresses, including part of the basal ganglia. This seems to cause a loss of control of movements: muscles normally held in check start contracting randomly.

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NMDA receptors (red) in the brain. In some forms of Huntington's disease the brain expresses more of these receptors.

How does Parkinson’s disease affect movement?

People with Parkinson’s disease can have a combination of symptoms: slow movements, constant tremor, stiff muscles and limbs, and an expressionless face. As the disease progresses, an area of the brain's basal ganglia gradually wastes away. This causes difficulty in preparing for, and starting, movements. However, once they have overcome the initial resistance, they can move more smoothly.

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People with Parkinson's disease take part in a Tai Chi class.


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Wellcome trust

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