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SYMPTOMATIC HUNTINGTON'S DISEASE CLINIC

Huntington's disease (HD) is a genetic neurological disorder that affects movement, thinking and behaviour that commonly affects multiple members of one family. It affects neurons in a particular part of the brain called the striatum, which plays a roll in the regulation of movement as well as emotion and thinking. A progressive disorder, it frequently presents with behavioural disturbance or mental illness, and the illness may first present psychiatrically. The Royal Melbourne Hospital has been providing assessment services since the early 1970s, and with the advent of genetic testing for the disease in the 1990s the Neuropsychiatry Unit has been active in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of patients with HD.

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A/Prof Mark Walterfang and Dr Ramon Mocellin are the consultant neuropsychiatrists that see all patients in our Symptomatic HD Clinic. Assessment generally involves a review of motor, psychiatric and cognitive symptoms, and neuroradiological review where appropriate. Ongoing management may involve medication treatment for movement disturbance and psychiatric illness, in addition to behavioural management strategies and support for cognitive impairment. Neuropsychologist Dr Anita Goh offers outpatient neuropsychology assessments for patients with HD, for initial assessment as well as for review.
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We work closely with Huntington's Victoria (HV), a not-for-profit organisation funded by the Victorian State Government which operates as a specialist service to assist patients and their families affected by HD. Workers from HV will often attend our clinics (with the patient's consent), to assist in the assessment of healthcare, social, occupational and community needs and to assist in the brokering of effective community care. This is often an essential service for our HD patients, who often have complex needs that are not clearly met by acute health or disability services.
For referral to the clinic, please click on the Referrers tab in the menu at the top of this page.