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Neuroreport. 2002 Jan 21;13(1):29-33.

A randomised, placebo-controlled, double blind study of treatment of Huntington's disease with unsaturated fatty acids.

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Department of Psychological Medicine, Monash University, Maroondah Hospital, Victoria, Australia.

Erratum in

  • Neuroreport 2002 Feb;13(2):inside back cover.


Huntington's Disease (HD) is a serious dominantly inherited neurodegenerative disorder for which there are no current treatments. Open label and animal studies have suggested that highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFAs) may be beneficial. Seventeen patients with HD were entered into a randomised, placebo-controlled, double blind trial of HUFA therapy. Patients were assessed on the Rockland-Simpson Dyskinesia Rating Scale (RSDRS) and the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS). On the RSDRS and the UHDRs motor scale patients on HUFA treatment improved while those on placebo deteriorated, with a significant difference between the two groups on the RSDRS. A similar trend was noted on the UHDRS functional performance scales. Little change was seen on the neuropsychology scales. There were no treatment-related adverse events. This is the first time that a significant improvement has been noted in a randomised trial in HD. The results are consistent with open label observations; a second placebo-controlled study in end-stage patients, and a study in a transgenic mouse model of HD.

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