Richard Robinson is a freelance science writer on neurology and neuroscience, with a special interest in movement disorders. He is the editor of E-MOVE, a newsletter of new research; a contributor to Neurology Today; and the editor of three science encyclopedias for high-school students.
We Found the Gene! Huntington’s Disease After the Cheering
In 1983, optimism swept the world of brain science: a marker had been found for the gene for Huntington’s disease—an invariably fatal affliction that had dogged certain families in America for 12 generations. A long, difficult decade later, scientists made another thrilling announcement: The gene had been found. Finding the gene, explains Richard Robinson, had been seen as the great hurdle. Today, two decades after the discovery of the marker, there are exciting leads, and growing confidence in virtually every area of Huntington’s research, but as yet no new treatments. So what, precisely, does it mean—and not mean—to “find the gene” for a neurological disorder? Here is what Huntington’s has taught us.