UW Health Named Huntington's Disease Center of Excellence

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Susan Lampert Smith




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Madison, Wisconsin - The University of Wisconsin-Madison has achieved Center of Excellence designation from the Huntington’s disease Society of America.


The UW Health Neurology Clinic, the first such center of excellence in the state of Wisconsin, joins 40 other centers around the nation.


Dr. Kathleen Shannon, chair of neurology and an expert in neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington’s and Parkinson’s, made achieving center-of-excellence rating a priority when she joined the faculty last year.


“This is an important recognition of our patient-centered care and means that our patients can receive multidisciplinary care from us,’’ says Shannon. Before this, patients from Wisconsin had to travel to Iowa, Minnesota or Chicago if they wanted care at a multidisciplinary center.


The level three designation means that UW Health offers services that include neurology, nursing, psychiatry or psychology, social services and genetic testing. It also provides education and works with local support groups. Shannon is also hiring a research coordinator and says the UW will soon begin offering clinical trials for Huntington’s disease.


Huntington’s disease is an inherited genetic condition that causes the loss of brain cells in certain areas. Symptoms are described as having, ALS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s – at the same time.


Huntington's disease symptoms often appear in a person’s 40s or 50s, but may begin earlier. A child of a Huntington’s disease parent has a 50 percent chance of inheriting the gene that causes the disorder. Today, there are approximately 30,000 symptomatic Americans and more than 200,000 at risk of inheriting the disease.


More information is available from UW Health's movement disorders clinic, which includes care for Huntington's disease.

Date Published: 02/09/2017

News tag(s):  neurology

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