30-Jan-15 11:00 AM  CST

Synthetic Oil may Bring New Hope for Huntington’s Disease

There may be new hope on the horizon for those diagnosed with Huntington’s disease. Huntington’s disease, which is an inherited disease, causes a break down of the nerve cells in the brain. Huntington’s affects functions of the brain such as emotions, memory, movements, thinking and behavior. Children who have a parent with Huntington’s disease have a 50% chance of being diagnosed with the disease later into adulthood. The symptoms of Huntington’s disease typically seen between the ages of 30- 50, and often become severely debilitating.

A synthetic triglyceride oil called triheptanoin may be the help those diagnosed with Huntington’s have been seeking. During the study 10 participants took colorless, flavorless oil three to four times a day with meals for a period of one month. Researchers found that participants had improved metabolic profiles within the early stages of the disease. After the study participants continued to improve with normal brain metabolism conducted during visual stimulation tests.

Tetrabenazine (xenazine) is the only drug approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration specifically to treat Huntington’s disease. Approved in 2008, Tetrabenazine helps to decrease the sudden jerking and writhing that is often seen with the progression of the disease. Although effective in decreasing unwanted movement associated with Huntington’s Tetrabenazine may facilitate depression and other psychiatric disorders often associated with the disease. Other medications used to treat Huntington’s, haloperidol and chlorpromazine, also help to decrease unwanted movements. Antidepressants such as citalopram (Celexa), fluoxetine (Prozac), and sertraline (Zoloft) are also often used to fight the symptom associated with Huntington’s disease.

 As with most medications the possibility of drug side effects often inhibit the progress of disease improvement, for those affected by Huntington’s disease this is often the case. Triheptanoin may be the promise that Huntington’s patients have been hoping for, but researchers warn testing is still in its infancy and conclusive results still remain to be seen.




Myoclonic (2015),“Huntington’s Disease”, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/huntingtons-disease/basics/treatment/con-20030685, retrieved, 12.January 2015

Pharmacy Times (2015), “Synthetic oil drug may bring promise for Huntington’s disease”, http://www.pharmacytimes.com/association-news/Synthetic-Oil-Drug-May-Bring-Promise-for-Huntingtons-Disease, retrieved, 12.January, 2015

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Source: Sandy Andrews  

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