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  • 1.
    Almqvist, E W
    et al.
    Kanada.
    Brinkman, R R
    Wiggins, S
    Hayden, M R
    Psychological consequences and predictors of adverse events in the first 5 years after predictive testing for Huntington's disease.2003In: Clinical Genetics, ISSN 0009-9163, E-ISSN 1399-0004, Vol. 64, no 4, p. 300-9Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The promise of genetic medicine is to provide information, based on genotype, to persons not yet sick about their risk of future illness. However, little is known of the long-term psychological effects for asymptomatic persons learning their risk of having a serious disease. Predictive genetic testing for Huntington's disease (HD) has been offered for the longest time for any disease. In the present study, the psychological consequences of predictive testing were assessed prospectively in individuals at risk for HD during seven visits over 5 years. Questionnaires of standard measures of psychological distress (the General Severity Index of the Symptom Check List-90-Revised), depression (the Beck Depression Inventory), and general well-being (the General Well-Being Scale) were administered to the participants. A significant reduction in psychological distress was observed for both result groups throughout 2 years (p < 0.001) and at 5 years (p = 0.002). Despite the overall improvement of the psychological well-being, 6.9% (14 of 202) of the participants experienced an adverse event during the first 2 years after predictive testing that was clinically significant. The frequency of all defined adverse events in the participants was 21.8%, with higher frequency in the increased risk group (p = 0.03) and most occurring within 12 months of receiving results.

  • 2.
    Almqvist, E W
    et al.
    Kanada.
    Elterman, D S
    MacLeod, P M
    Hayden, M R
    High incidence rate and absent family histories in one quarter of patients newly diagnosed with Huntington disease in British Columbia.2001In: Clinical Genetics, ISSN 0009-9163, E-ISSN 1399-0004, Vol. 60, no 3, p. 198-205Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The advent of the direct mutation test for Huntington disease (HD) has made it possible to identify a previously unrecognized symptomatic population of HD, including those with an atypical presentation or patients without a family history of HD. The present study investigated the uptake of this test in the province of British Columbia (BC), Canada and assessed the incidence rate and rate of identification of new mutations for HD. All symptomatic individuals residing in BC who were referred for the genetic test for HD between 1993 and 2000 (n=205) were analyzed for CAG expansion, baseline demographics and clinical data, and a family history of HD. A total of 141 (or 68.8%) had a CAG expansion > or =36. Of these, almost one-quarter (24.1%) did not have a family history of HD. An extensive chart review revealed that 11 patients (or 7.8%) had reliable information on both parents (who lived well into old age) and therefore possibly could represent new mutations for HD. This indicates a three to four times higher new mutation rate than previously reported. Our findings also show that the yearly incidence rate for HD was 6.9 per million, which is two times higher than previous incidence studies performed prior to the identification of the HD mutation. We also identified five persons with a clinical presentation of HD but without CAG expansion (genocopies) (2.4%).

  • 3.
    Andrew, S
    et al.
    Kanada.
    Theilmann, J
    Almqvist, E
    Norremolle, A
    Lucotte, G
    Anvret, M
    Sorensen, S A
    Turpin, J C
    Hayden, M R
    DNA analysis of distinct populations suggests multiple origins for the mutation causing Huntington disease.1993In: Clinical Genetics, ISSN 0009-9163, E-ISSN 1399-0004, Vol. 43, no 6, p. 286-94Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Results of association studies can be significantly biased if the ancestry of the control population is not similar to that of the affected population. One approach to overcome such a bias is to use distinct populations where controls and affected individuals are likely to be of similar descent. We have examined homogeneous populations of French, Danish and Swedish ancestry for nonrandom allelic association between Huntington disease (HD) and several markers previously shown to be in association with HD. No evidence for nonrandom allelic association between HD and these markers was shown in these populations. The demonstration of association in a United Kingdom (UK) sample of similar size, and lack of significant differences in allele frequencies between the French, Danish, Swedish and UK populations suggested that the absence of association was not predominantly a consequence of allele frequencies or sample size. To investigate further the number of potential HD chromosomes, DNA haplotypes were constructed for the Danish, French, Swedish and UK populations. The minimum of two HD haplotypes observed in each of the French, Danish and Swedish populations, compared to the one haplotype in the UK population of a similar size, is an important factor accounting for the absence of association between HD and the DNA markers in these populations. Furthermore, these data are in favour of multiple independent origins for the mutation causing HD.

  • 4.
    Bruland, O
    et al.
    Norge.
    Almqvist, E W
    Goldberg, Y P
    Boman, H
    Hayden, M R
    Knappskog, P M
    Accurate determination of the number of CAG repeats in the Huntington disease gene using a sequence-specific internal DNA standard.1999In: Clinical Genetics, ISSN 0009-9163, E-ISSN 1399-0004, Vol. 55, no 3, p. 198-202Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    We have developed a sequence-specific internal DNA size standard for the accurate determination of the number of CAG repeats in the Huntington disease (HD) gene by cloning key fragments (between 15 and 64 CAG repeats) of the HD gene. These fragments, pooled to produce a sequence-specific DNA ladder, enabled us to observe the true number of CAG repeats directly, with no need for calculations. Comparison of the calculated numbers of CAG repeats in the HD gene using this sequence-specific DNA standard with a commercially available standard (GENESCAN-500 TAMRA) showed that the latter underestimated the number of CAG repeats by three when analyzed by capillary electrophoresis on the ABI 310 Genetic Analyzer (POP4 polymer). In contrast, the use of the same standard overestimated the number of CAG repeats by one when the samples were analyzed by denaturing polyacrylamide electrophoresis on ABI 377 DNA Sequencer (6% denaturing polyacrylamide gel). This suggests that our sequence-specific standard provides greater accuracy for the determination of the true number of CAG repeats in the HD gene than commercially available standards. The sequence-specific standard can be radioactively labeled and successfully replace conventional DNA size standards when analyzing polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-amplified HD alleles by denaturing polyacrylamide electrophoresis.

  • 5.
    Creighton, S
    et al.
    Kanada.
    Almqvist, E W
    MacGregor, D
    Fernandez, B
    Hogg, H
    Beis, J
    Welch, J P
    Riddell, C
    Lokkesmoe, R
    Khalifa, M
    MacKenzie, J
    Sajoo, A
    Farrell, S
    Robert, F
    Shugar, A
    Summers, A
    Meschino, W
    Allingham-Hawkins, D
    Chiu, T
    Hunter, A
    Allanson, J
    Hare, H
    Schween, J
    Collins, L
    Sanders, S
    Greenberg, C
    Cardwell, S
    Lemire, E
    MacLeod, P
    Hayden, M R
    Predictive, pre-natal and diagnostic genetic testing for Huntington's disease: the experience in Canada from 1987 to 2000.2003In: Clinical Genetics, ISSN 0009-9163, E-ISSN 1399-0004, Vol. 63, no 6, p. 462-75Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Predictive and pre-natal testing for Huntington's Disease (HD) has been available since 1987. Initially this was offered by linkage analysis, which was surpassed by the advent of the direct mutation test for HD in 1993. Direct mutation analysis provided an accurate test that not only enhanced predictive and pre-natal testing, but also permitted the diagnostic testing of symptomatic individuals. The objective of this study was to investigate the uptake, utilization, and outcome of predictive, pre-natal and diagnostic testing in Canada from 1987 to April 1, 2000. A retrospective design was used; all Canadian medical genetics centres and their affiliated laboratories offering genetic testing for HD were invited to participate. A total of 15 of 22 centres (68.2%), currently offering or ever having offered genetic testing for HD, responded, providing data on test results, demographics, and clinical history. A total of 1061 predictive tests, 15 pre-natal tests, and 626 diagnostic tests were performed. The uptake for predictive testing was approximately 18% of the estimated at-risk Canadian population, ranging from 12.5% in the Maritimes to 20.7% in British Columbia. There appears to have been a decline in the rate of testing in recent years. Of the predictive tests, 45.0% of individuals were found to have an increased risk, and a preponderance of females (60.2%) sought testing. A greater proportion of those at < or = 25% risk sought predictive testing once direct CAG mutation analysis had become available (10.9% after mutation analysis vs 4.7% before mutation analysis, p = 0.0077). Very few pre-natal tests were requested. Of the 15 pre-natal tests, 12 had an increased risk, resulting in termination of pregnancy in all but one. Diagnostic testing identified 68.5% of individuals to be positive by mutation analysis, while 31.5% of those with HD-like symptoms were not found to have the HD mutation. The positive diagnostic tests included 24.5% of individuals with no known prior family history of HD.

  • 6.
    Holmgren, G
    et al.
    Department of: Clinical Genetics, University Hospital, Umeå, Sweden..
    Almqvist, E W
    Anvret, M
    Conneally, M
    Hobbs, W
    Mattsson, B
    Wahlström, J
    Winblad, B
    Gusella, J F
    Linkage of G8 (D4S10) in two Swedish families with Huntington's disease.1987In: Clinical Genetics, ISSN 0009-9163, E-ISSN 1399-0004, Vol. 32, no 5, p. 289-94Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Two Swedish families with Huntington's disease (HD) have been investigated for linkage with G8 (D4S10). In one family from northern Sweden (Family 1) 48 family members were examined, and in another family from the southwestern part of Sweden (Family 2) 14 family members were examined. The lod scores were 1.531 for Family 1 and 2.057 for Family 2, and the combined lod score was 3.59. The HD gene was segregating with the haplotype C in Family 1 and with haplotype A in Family 2. The predictive value of the test was obvious. Before the testing with the G8 probe, 84.2% of the family members in Family 1 had a theoretical risk of 25% or 50% of having the HD gene. After the testing with the G8 probe, only 23.7% of the family members remained at the same risk, and it could also be certified that 63.2% had no or little risk of having the HD gene. Only one asymptomatic person was predicted to have HD.

  • 7.
    Langbehn, D R
    et al.
    USA.
    Brinkman, R R
    Falush, D
    Paulsen, J S
    Hayden, M R
    A new model for prediction of the age of onset and penetrance for Huntington's disease based on CAG length.2004In: Clinical Genetics, ISSN 0009-9163, E-ISSN 1399-0004, Vol. 65, no 4, p. 267-77Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Huntington's disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by an unstable CAG repeat. For patients at risk, participating in predictive testing and learning of having CAG expansion, a major unanswered question shifts from "Will I get HD?" to "When will it manifest?" Using the largest cohort of HD patients analyzed to date (2913 individuals from 40 centers worldwide), we developed a parametric survival model based on CAG repeat length to predict the probability of neurological disease onset (based on motor neurological symptoms rather than psychiatric onset) at different ages for individual patients. We provide estimated probabilities of onset associated with CAG repeats between 36 and 56 for individuals of any age with narrow confidence intervals. For example, our model predicts a 91% chance that a 40-year-old individual with 42 repeats will have onset by the age of 65, with a 95% confidence interval from 90 to 93%. This model also defines the variability in HD onset that is not attributable to CAG length and provides information concerning CAG-related penetrance rates.

  • 8.
    Otto, C J
    et al.
    Kanada.
    Almqvist, E
    Hayden, M R
    Andrew, S E
    The "flap" endonuclease gene FEN1 is excluded as a candidate gene implicated in the CAG repeat expansion underlying Huntington disease.2001In: Clinical Genetics, ISSN 0009-9163, E-ISSN 1399-0004, Vol. 59, no 2, p. 122-7Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    At least 12 disorders including Huntington disease (HD) are associated with expansion of a trinucleotide repeat (TNR). Factors contributing to the risk of expansion of TNRs and the mechanism of expansion have not been elucidated. Data from Saccharomyces cerevisiae suggest that the flap endonuclease FEN1 plays a role in expansion of repetitive DNA tracts. It has been hypothesized that insufficiency of FEN1 or a mutant FEN1 might contribute to the occurrence of expansion events of long repetitive DNA tracts after polymerase slippage events during lagging strand synthesis. The expression pattern of FEN1 was determined, and ubiquitous tissue expression, including germ cells, suggested that FEN1 has the potential to be involved in HD. Fifteen HD parent/child pairs that demonstrated intergenerational increases in CAG length of greater than 10 repeats were examined for possible mutations or polymorphisms within the FEN1 gene that could underlie the saltatory repeat expansions seen in these individuals. No alterations were observed compared to 50 controls, excluding FEN1 as a trans-acting factor underlying TNR expansion. The identification of a candidate gene(s) in HD or other CAG-expansion disorders implicated in TNR instability will elucidate the mechanism of expansion for this growing family of neurological disorders.

  • 9. Squitieri, F
    et al.
    Almqvist, E W
    Cannella, M
    Cislaghi, G
    Hayden, M R
    Predictive testing for persons at risk for homozygosity for CAG expansion in the Huntington disease gene.2003In: Clinical Genetics, ISSN 0009-9163, E-ISSN 1399-0004, Vol. 64, no 6, p. 524-5Article in journal (Refereed)
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