Huntington’s Disease Media Critique

There are a lot of different books, movies and TV shows that portray neuropsychological disorders. The popular show House M. D. showed the audience so many cases of different diseases that give an interesting knowledge to the viewers. Sometimes it is real life cases, but most of the time it is imagination of the screenwriters. Each episode is different and was not focused for a long time on one specific disease except Huntington’s. Dr. Hadley (Olivia Wild) or better known as Thirteen one of the main characters in the show was diagnosed with HD.

While watching the show the audience could better understand Thirteen’s situation and it gives them better idea of the disease and what is following after. There are lots of different diseases in the world. Many of them are treatable, but there are still some sicknesses that cannot be cured and one of them is Huntington’s disease. In the show House M. D. Dr. Remy Hadley (Olivia Wild) suffers from Huntington’s disease. She is the part of the diagnostic team under the guidance of Gregory House. Thirteen is the most mysterious character in his team, but as time goes House reveals her secrets.

Thirteen suffers from a genetic condition called Huntington’s disease. Her mother died of HD and later on Remy euthanized her brother who suffered from the same illness. Thirteen did not know if she inherited the gene for a long time and non-acquaintance made her brave to do things she thought she could not do. House got Remy’s DNA test for Huntington’s, but she did not want to see it. She was afraid to know the truth, but later on she did the test again and found out that the result for the test come out positive. In Season Five, Remy accepted that she has the disease and her colleagues were aware of her problems.

Dr. Hadley showed self-destructive behavior and took unnecessary risks after she found out about her sickness. In the “Last Resort”, Thirteen agrees to be used as guinea pig for a patient to prevent him for being sedated by the medications that were given to treat him. She injected herself with every drug that was given to the patient to calm him down. And she showed that they would not give him a sedative. House realized that Remy is trying to take control over her feelings, but her fears are took over and she was going to kill herself.

“It is only at the end when she is near complete kidney failure from the drug overdoses that she realizes she wants to live and refuses to take the last drug, which most likely would have killed her. ” (http://house. wikia. com/wiki/Remy_Hadley) Remy took her feelings under control and she decided to be a part of Huntington’s drugs trial. Thirteen was treated by medications in the House M. D. episode “Painless”, but later on she found out that she was given placebo. Remy also met a lady who also suffers from HD, but she was in her last stages.

Thirteen saw herself in this woman, but she did not want to give up. She tried to find other ways to be alive for as long as she can. She was also afraid of getting attached to people because she did not want to hurt somebody because of her sickness. In one of the episodes, audience found that Thirteen had trouble controlling her hand while she was holding a drink, and it was a sign that her condition was got worse. “Thirteen has generally showed she is scared about losing control of her body, but she doesn’t allow it to hold her back. ” (http://house. It is when in the episode Teamwork, viewers watched Remy in the gym, while she was doing exercises to treat her disease.

There are not so many details that were told about Huntington’s disease in the show, but watching as Thirteen went through the stages of an untreatable disease, some people could see themselves in this hopeless situation. Huntington’s disease is one of the most serious illnesses in the world. Hicks & Macnair (2009) claims that Huntington’s disease was first described in 1872 by George Huntington, “who studied a family in Long Island affected by the condition”.

(http://www. bbc. co. uk/health/physical_health/conditions/huntingtons1. shtml) Huntington’s disease is also called Huntington’s chorea. The term chorea means jerky, dance like, involuntary movements. (http://www. bupa. co. uk/individuals/health-information/directory/h/huntingtons-disease) The chorea is inherited disease that causes degeneration of certain cells in the basal ganglia, striatum and cerebral cortex, which leads to loss of mental ability, control of movement, and changes in personality.

“Some of the symptoms include: poor memory, depression and/or mood swings, lack of coordination, twitching or other uncontrolled movements and difficulty walking, speaking, and/or swallowing. ” (http://learn. genetics. utah. edu/content/disorders/whataregd/hunt/) Huntington’s disease is caused by an inherited defect on chromosome 4. The defect causes repeats of basic chemicals known as CAG (cytosine, adenine, and guanine) to occur many more times than it is supposed to. Individuals who do not have HD normally will have 10 to 28 repeats in their DNA section.

But in persons with the disease, it is repeated more than 36 times. As the gene is passed through generation, the number of repeats gets larger. “In case of Huntington’s chorea, as the number of repeated triplets of nucleotides (e. g. , cytosine, adenine, guanine = CAG) increases, the earlier the age of onset for the disease” (Elias & Saucier, 2006, p. 170). There is 50% chance that the disease will be inherited by a child of a person with HD. If a child did not get the gene from a parent, he cannot pass it to the next generation.

It is also hard to tell if person has the disease, because the symptoms usually do not appear until middle age, but it may occur in an earlier age. “Once symptoms appear, the disease tends to progress for ten to fifteen years before eventually resulting in death” (Elias & Saucier, 2006, p. 170). Genetic tests can conclude if a person carries HD gene. “The DNA test can determine if asymptomatic person will later develop the disease” (http://www. ygyh. org/hd/whatisit. htm). Later on the doctor would ask about the medical and patient’s family history. A head CT scan, MRI scan and PET scan of the brain could show the loss of brain tissue.

The doctor would examine a patient and perform a physical exam and also neurological exam to see if a patient has a signs of dementia, abnormal movements and reflexes, hesitant speech or poor enunciation. (http://www. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001775/) Huntington’s evolves and does not have a cure, but some of the medications can help to slow down the symptoms. Some of the drugs may have side effects that worsen other symptoms. Many of those who have a disease at the last stages commit suicide, because they could not live without things like thinking, moving, and talking.

Those who chose to fight for their life trying to do whatever they can to stay alive. Current treatments can only help the symptoms, but there is always a hope that further researches bring an effective cure to those who fight for life. I believe that the show House M. D. has a small amount of information about Huntington’s disease. The viewers could not fully understand what is HD and why everybody so worried about it. The show just gave the audience a story about a woman with a bad heredity. Also it brought the topic of the death.

In 1993 researchers discovered the gene that causes Huntington’s disease. (Huntington’s disease Society of America, 8/27) Huntington’s disease is a disease which progressively degenerates cells in the brain slowly over time. Since the nerve cells in the brain are slowly …

In one to three percent of Huntingtons Disease patients, have no family history of HD (HuntingtonsDisease1). Huntington’s disease is a very inconvenient and frustrating disease, scientists are trying to create treatments and a cure for Huntington’s disease. The one problem …

Huntington’s disease is an inherited degenerative neurological disease that leads to dementia. It is a disorder of the basal ganglia causing progressive motor incoordination, abnormal involuntary movements (chorea), and intellectual decline. Clinical features and Symptoms: Huntington’s disease usually causes movement, …

Huntington’s Disease is a progressive and degenerative (Gray, 2008) hereditary disease that destroys neurons in the areas of the brain involved in emotions, intellect and movement. Its symptoms generally begin to appear in patient’s between 30 to 50 years of …

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