Vanderbilt Neurosciences / Services / Huntington's Disease

Huntington's Disease

Huntington’s disease, an inherited neurological disorder, affects mood, movement and memory. Our Huntington’s Disease Program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center focuses exclusively on diagnosing and caring for individuals with this genetic, neurodegenerative disorder and their families. Our comprehensive care team offers a full range of care options to help you manage your disorder and associated symptoms. We also offer resources to help with the social and nutritional side effects of your disease.

At Vanderbilt, you will experience our expert and compassionate care beginning with your first appointment and continuing throughout your care journey. Our team is committed to providing you and your family with the most advanced care, research and education.

Huntington’s Disease: Why Choose Vanderbilt

  • Center of Excellence. We are one of only a few programs in the country to receive a Level 1 Center of Excellence designation from the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA). This designation is a result of our partnership with Erlanger Health System and the Movement Disorders Clinic at the Cole Neuroscience Center to expand access to care for patients with Huntington’s disease.
  • Highly skilled doctors. Our neurologists receive advanced training to diagnose and care for individuals with Huntington’s disease. These specially trained doctors meet each week with experts across medical disciplines to collaborate on your personalized care plan. This means we consult, share ideas and strategize with each other to tailor a treatment plan that considers your individual needs, preferences and lifestyle.
  • Team approach. At Vanderbilt, you don’t just have one doctor. You have a team of specialists across medical disciplines working together to offer you more effective, comprehensive care. During your appointments, you have access to on-site neurologists, neuropsychologists, genetic counselors, social workers, dietitians, psychiatrists, speech-language pathologists, physical and occupational therapists, home care and palliative care specialists.
  • Coordinated care. Our dedicated nurse will assess your unique needs and help you schedule an appointment with our care team. During your initial visit, you and your family will meet with a neurologist and social worker to discuss genetics, long-term planning needs, and testing and treatment options. Together, we can help answer your questions, address concerns and connect you to support services.
  • Support groups. Huntington’s disease and its associated symptoms affect all aspects of your life. It can also significantly impact your family. We can connect you and your family members to local support groups to ensure you have access to the resources and support needed through each stage of the disease.
  • Innovative research and clinical trials. Our doctors are at the forefront of research for Huntington’s disease. We are one of only a few programs participating in research studies investigating how to slow the progression of the disease, improve associated symptoms and potentially treat the disease. Our commitment to research means you will receive the most current, research-based approaches to care before they are widely available to the public. Learn more about our research.

Huntington’s Disease: Conditions

  • Huntington’s disease: A neurological disorder in which brain cells, or neurons, in certain areas of your brain start to break down. As the neurons deteriorate, the disease can lead to cognitive challenges, uncontrollable movements and mood disorders. Symptoms typically appear between the ages of 30-50, but may appear sooner. Diagnosis of juvenile Huntington’s disease occurs before the age of 20, but is less than 10 percent of all cases. 

Huntington’s Disease: Tests

After your initial visit and neurocognitive consultations, we may need to perform one or more tests. Test options may include:

  • Genetic counseling and testing
  • Home health assessments
  • Motor assessment to examine eye movement, involuntary movements (chorea), gait, coordination and slowness in movement and stiffness
  • Neurocognitive testing
  • Neurological exam
  • Psychiatric consultation

Huntington’s Disease: Treatments We Offer

At Vanderbilt, we offer a full-range of treatment options to help you manage the symptoms of Huntington’s disease. After you complete your consultations and tests, we will discuss different treatment options with you, which may include:

  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Antidepressants
  • Antipsychotic medications
  • Involuntary movement medications
  • Mood-stabilizing medications
  • Individual and family counseling
  • Palliative care

Huntington’s Disease: Location

1500 21st Ave. S., Suite 1532
Nashville, TN 37232
(615) 936-1007

Huntington’s Disease: Meet Our Care Team



Director

Neurologists

Neuropsychologists

Psychiatrists 

Nurse Practitioner

Staff

Lisa Hale, LMSW
Social Worker

Vickie Hannig, MS, CGC
Genetic Counselor

Elizabeth Huitz, RN
Clinic Nurse

Carol Rabideau, LCSW
Social Worker

Huntington’s Disease: Contact Us

For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact our dedicated nurse at (615) 936-1007.