A mobile app can detect early symptoms of Huntington’s disease

Huntington Disease Association

A mobile application will now be able to reveal early symptoms of a rare Huntington’s disease. The brainchild of a research team at Kaunas University of Technology (KTU), Lithuania have designed the application in cooperation with Huntington Disease Association and physicians. If probability of the symptoms is detected via the app, the user is encouraged to contact medical professionals.

Huntington’s disease is a brain disorder caused by an inherited defect in a single gene. The disease causes uncontrolled movements, loss of thinking ability and emotional problems. A hereditary disease, Huntington’s occurs in one in two chances in the child if diagnosed in a parent. The disease is usually common in a person’s thirties or forties. An adult diagnosed with the disease lives about 15 to 20 years after its first symptoms. In children or adolescence, the disease may also lead to problems of movement, mental problems as well as those related to emotions. Around twenty thousand people have been affected by the disease in Europe and 177 cases were registered in Lithuania in 2015 alone.

KTU doctoral student, Andrius Lauraitis stated, “Our app is aimed at the early detection – we are attempting to diagnose the disease when visually there are no symptoms”. Lauraitis is developing the application for evaluating the symptoms of Huntington’s disease.

Since it is a hereditary disease, the person might know when they are put in a risk group, but they are not certain when the disease will occur, in such situations that the app will prove beneficial. Detection of early symptoms will advise the person to consult a physician immediately. “Although there is no known treatment for Huntington’s disease, it is estimated that a patient can gain 3-16 years of healthy life if the disease is diagnosed early”, said Prof Maskeliunas in a statement.

The Neural Impairment Test Suite app has a collection of various tests. The app is available on Google Play, and evaluates the user’s motor, cognitive skills, in order to detect voice and energy consumption disorders. Furthermore, the newly designed app can also be used for the evaluation of other neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or dementia.