The onset of Huntington's disease (HD) is preceded or accompanied by events and symptoms which contribute to the natural history of the disease. Data obtained from the first 510 completed 'Questionnaires for Affected Individuals', recorded by the National Huntington's Disease Research Roster (NHDRR) were analysed. The following features were evaluated: (1) neurological and psychiatric onset symptoms; (2) the precipitating effect of stressful events and drugs; (3) the modification after onset of smoking and alcohol consumption. The most frequent psychiatric onset symptom was depression. Stressful events in the year before onset occurred in 43% of patients. However, onset age was the same in patients with and without previous stressful events. Smoking and especially alcohol consumption showed a decreasing trend after onset.
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