A new study published in The Journal of General Physiology has suggested that Huntington's Disease is a disease of muscle tissue, as well as a neurodegenerative disorder. The disease affects an estimated 3 to 7 per 100,000 people of European ancestry, the US National Library of Medicine reported, and causes uncontrolled movements, emotional problems, and loss of thinking abilities.

Researchers from Wright State in Ohio and California State Polytechnic examined the development of mice with HD, according to Medical Xpress. The team previously found that creatures with an early-onset form of HD showed skeletal muscle defects at late stages of the disease. The new research added to these findings and suggested that muscle maturation might be disrupted in HD mice.

"Our results support the idea that HD is a [disease of muscle tissue] as well as a neurodegenerative disease and may provide a new opportunity to improve patient care by targeting skeletal muscle tissue," researcher Andrew Voss said, according to Medical Xpress.

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Additionally, these findings could lead researchers and clinicians to discover new HD biomarkers, making it much easier to track the progress of the disease. Currently, the process requires examining patients' brain tissue.

The disease is considered a progressive brain disorder, and first symptoms can be very different among individuals with HD. The Mayo Clinic reported that symptoms of juvenile Huntington’s can be behavioral or physical. The latter can include contracted and rigid muscles, changes in fine motor skills, and seizures.

Source: Miranda et al. Progressive Cl − channel defects reveal disrupted skeletal muscle maturation in R6/2 Huntington's mice. The Journal of General Physiology. 2017.

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