Contact: Susan Lampert Smith
Madison, Wisconsin —The first Huntington’s disease clinic at UW Health at The American Center is set for Wednesday, July 12 and is expected to bring patients and their families from around the state.
Earlier this year, the University of Wisconsin-Madison 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, joined 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, says that locating the clinic at The American Center, on Madison’s far East Side near the intersection of Interstate 90-94 and Highway 151, makes sense for the patients.
“The American Center is more accessible to patients, some of whom are traveling from around the state, and is easier to access for people with movement disorders because of the ease of parking and location of the clinic,’’ says Shannon, who will see patients at the clinic.
Before UW won Center of Excellence designation, 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. The UW also hopes to 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 much like 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 on UW Health’s movement disorders clinic, which includes care for Huntington’s disease, is available at uwhealth.org