June 26, 2012
Dr. Leslie Thompson, a member of the UCI Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND), has been named editor in chief of the first academic journal dedicated to Huntington’s disease. The quarterly Journal of Huntington’s Disease features original research in basic science, translational research and clinical studies. The 7th most cited researcher in Huntington’s disease (HD) over the past 25 years, Dr. Thompson is a professor of psychiatry and human behavior in the UCI School of Medicine and of neurobiology and behavior
in the School of Biological Sciences. She serves as the Director of the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program. A pioneer in the exploration of stem cell-based treatments for HD, Dr. Thompson is affiliated with the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center and the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Dr. Thompson is excited about the opportunity to serve as the journal’s first editor, noting, “There’s enough momentum in the field to have a dedicated journal, and it’ll be a very comprehensive resource for the Huntington’s disease community.” Serving with Dr. Thompson on the editorial board are Drs. Joan Steffan and Larry Marsh of UCI, both among the top 100 cited researchers in Huntington’s disease.
Named after Dr. George Huntington, the American physician who originally described the condition in 1872, HD is a hereditary progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the development of emotional, behavioral, and psychiatric abnormalities, loss of previously acquired intellectual or cognitive functioning, and movement abnormalities. Classic signs of HD include the development of chorea–or involuntary, rapid, irregular, jerky movements that may affect the face, arms, legs, or trunk–as well as the gradual loss of thought processing and acquired intellectual abilities (i.e., a dementia). There may be impairment of memory, abstract thinking, and judgment; improper perceptions of time, place, or identity; increased agitation, and personality changes. Although symptoms typically become evident during the fourth or fifth decades of life, the age at onset is variable and ranges from early childhood to late adulthood (i.e., 70s or 80s). HD is transmitted within families as an autosomal dominant trait. For more information about Huntington’s disease, visit the Huntington’s Disease Society of America.