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UCLA Partners with Huntington Disease Society of America to find a cure

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Uploaded on Aug 27, 2010

UCLA has partnered up with the Huntington's Disease Society of America (HDSA) in an effort to raise money and awareness to find a cure for this devastating illness.

The Hoop-A-Thon is a one-of-a-kind speed free-throw shooting contest. All proceeds from this event go to the UCLA Center of Excellence for patient care and services as well as research for a cure of Huntington's Disease (HD).

UCLA Head Men's Basketball Coach Ben Howland and his wife, Kim, were honorary co-chairs of the HDSA LA Hoop-A-Thon. The event took place in legendary Pauley Pavilion on Friday, Aug. 28, 2009 from 6-10 p.m.

HD directly affects Howland's family as his father-in-law, Arlo Zahnow, had Huntington's Disease.

HD also affected John Paul Jr., one of the nation's top professional race car drivers.

HD is a devastating genetic disorder that causes uncontrollable body movements and deprives people of their abilities to walk, talk, eat and think rationally. This disease is currently incurable and it is fatal.

The gene that causes HD is a mutant of a normal gene. The defective gene causes chemical changes in nerve cells that damages brain structures leading to symptoms. The process that causes nerve cells to die in HD may have similarities to other, more common, disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Insights into HD may prove useful to understanding these other disorders.

Huntington's Disease is rare but that doesn't make it any less devastating. HD is a tragic reality affecting 30,000 families in America. The facts are grim for HD: There is no cure, it's fatal and because it's rare, funding for research is sparse. But there is hope. Since HD is caused by a type of genetic mutation that is shared by a host of other disorders, solving HD can lead the way to treatments, and ultimately cures for all of them.

We are closer than ever to finding a cure! We can help raise the much needed funds for research and do our part to inspire hope in those families affected by this fatal brain disorder. For more information on HD, please visit the HDSA LA website at www.hdsla.org or UCLA Neurology at www.neurology.ucla.edu.

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