Can You Help Me?: Inside the Turbulent World of Huntington Disease

Can You Help Me?: Inside the Turbulent World of Huntington Disease

by Thomas D. Bird


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Can You Help Me?: Living in the Turbulent World of Huntington Disease shares the surprising, insightful, challenging, and even encouraging stories of patients and their families who live with Huntington Disease. Having seen patients for more than 40 years, Dr Thomas Bird, a pioneer neurogeneticist, adds a human touch to this genetic brain disease that devastates persons during mid-life when they can least afford it.

With a brief history of Huntington Disease and the occasional scientific detail, the true heart of the book is the human experience of the disorder:
The man who cannot stay out of prison because he is addicted to being a burglar.
Another man shoots and kills his roommate while watching television and cannot explain why he did it.
The woman with Huntington Disease copes with her depression by using Texas line dancing.
A twelve year old girl with juvenile Huntington Disease who can barely walk and talk, but her classmates rally around with touching and heartfelt support.
And the 72 year old man with late onset Huntington Disease and severe depression is made worse by ECT, but improved (for a while) with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.

These are just some of the compelling stories of people of all ages and in all walks of life who feel trapped by a progressive degenerative brain disease from which there is no escape.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780190684228
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 03/01/2019
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 517,188
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Dr. Thomas Bird is a Professor of Neurology and Medical Genetics at the University of Washington who has been a pioneer in the field of Clinical Neurogenetics. He has received numerous national awards for his research on hereditary diseases of the nervous system including Alzheimer and Huntington diseases and established the first clinic for adults with neurogenetic diseases in the United States.

Table of Contents


1. Introduction
2. Comparing Huntington Disease to Other Brain Diseases
3. Genetic Counseling and the Genetic Testing Conundrum

Part I - Interacting with the Legal and Mental Health Care System
4. Can You Help Me?
5. It Was Awful
6. The Asylum
7. Meeting Huntington Disease Patients at Western State
8. I Don't Know Why I Did It
9. Carkeek Park
10. Please Call the Coroner

Part II - Coping Strategies
11. Enjoy the Moment
12. High Five
13. Let's Try a Magnet
14. "I Don't Agree"
15. The Greatest Generation and Productive Lifestyles
16. Princess in Pink

Part III - Marriage, Family, and Finances
17. For Better, For Worse
18. In Sickness and in Health
19. Money Problems
20. Staying Employed
21. We Just Want to Have a Child
22. The Judge Said "Are You Sure You Want to Do This?"
23. The Thanksgiving Visitor
24. Family Opposites
25. A Second Wedding

Part IV - Embarrassment, Injury, Neglect, and Delusions
26. Excuse Me Madam and I Am Not Drunk
27. Broken Bones
28. A Bump on the Head
29. Impulse Control
30. Reservation Blues
31. Is This Negligence?
32. Delusions, Hallucinations, and Diabolical Possession
33. The Downward Spiral
34. A Visit to Willow Park

V -Summing Up
35. Summing Up: "Can you help me?"

Appendix: The Genetic Test for HD

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