Puerto Rico studies "St. Vitus Dance"

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Huntington's disease affects movement, the ability to think and process information, physical activity, weight, and psychiatric status (Picture: El Nuevo Día)

Huntington's disease, also known as the "St. Vitus dance" is an inherited genetic disorder that affects brain cells or neurons in the striatum region. This area of the brain is related to body movement, emotions and memory.

Dr. Sylvette Ayala Peña and her team at the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus are studying the death of brain cells that happens as a result of Huntington's disease. Specifically they have focused on the role of mitochondria, the cell's energy powerhouse, in this disease process. They have found that antioxidant compound that targets the mitochondria slows down Huntington's in mouse models of the disease.

The author is a doctoral student in the Medical Sciences Campus of the University of Puerto Rico and a member of Ciencia Puerto Rico - www.cienciapr.org.

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