JHD is a less common, early-onset form of Huntington´s Disease that begins in childhood or adolescence. JHD is defined by the onset of symptoms before age 20 years and accounts for 5-10% of all HD cases. This can make dealing with the disease an isolating experience, and meeting with people in the same situation can help.
Most often, children with JHD inherit the HD gene from their fathers, although on occasion they can inherit it from their mothers. JHD has a rapid progression once symptoms begin to appear. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for JHD, and treatment options are focused on support and on increasing the quality of life.
People with JHD often experience symptoms that are quite different from HD. It is less likely to have chorea (involuntary movements) that are typical with HD and more likely too experience muscle contractions and stiffness, meaning that it is slower and more difficult to make voluntary movements. Some may also experience changes in their mood such as feeling more frustrated or angry and finding it difficult to manage one’s behaviour. This can be the first symptoms of the disease, as well as a sudden drop in performance at school. It is important to note that these symptoms may relate to other causes, therefore making it very important to contact your regular physician.