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Am J Med Genet. 1993 Dec 15;48(4):231-3.

Risk factors for suicide in Huntingtons disease: a retrospective case controlled study.

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  • 1Seattle VA Medical Center, Washington 98108.


We reviewed 11 instances of suicide in HD families to determine what clinical and social characteristics might alert health professionals to increased suicide potential. The subjects were eight males and one female affected with HD, one female at risk for HD, and one unaffected female spouse, ranging in age from 24 to 65 years. Six of the nine individuals with HD who committed suicide were single or divorced. Duration of HD symptoms ranged from 1 to 14 years. The single most important risk factor for suicide in HD was having no offspring. Other suicides in the family, being unmarried, having contact with others affected with HD, living alone, and depression slightly increased the risk of suicide. The suicide of an unaffected spouse and an individual at risk, but unaffected, emphasizes the heavy burden of HD on other family members. Recognition of these risk factors should allow health care providers to assist families coping with HD and presymptomatic diagnosis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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