Huntington Disease (Chorea) in the Middle East

Euan M Scrimgeour


Huntington disease (HD) has been reported in Arab families in several Middle East countries including Saudi Arabia, Oman, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt and in non-Arab populations in other countries in the region. It is probably under-reported, and until now, has not been recorded in Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan or in Iraq. The Middle East has always been on the crossroads of trade and travel, and HD was probably introduced to some of these countries in previous times. The prevalence rate in Middle Eastern Arabs is estimated to vary from 3 to 4 per 100,000. Although the HD gene which codes for the protein huntingtin has been identified, the function of this protein is not known. At present, no treatment has been found to delay the onset of HD or to treat it effectively. Although relatively rare, HD has increasingly become a focus of international gene research, with the support and collaboration of the International Huntington Association (IHA). The IHA has been represented in Saudi Arabia and Oman.


Huntington; Chorea; Middle East; Arab race.

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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