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Health insurance industry urged to reconsider Huntington's

Published on 30/06/2010
Health insurance companies have been urged to reconsider the way they handle Huntington's disease after new research suggested there may be twice as many sufferers in the UK as previously believed.

Writing in the Lancet journal, Professor Sir Michael Rawlins, chairman of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, called for an end to the practice of penalising those with a family history of the neurodegenerative disease.

Because development of the hereditary condition is so easy to predict using genetic tests - children of sufferers have a 50 per cent chance of developing it themselves, it can be difficult for sufferers to find affordable cover.

However Professor Rawlins suggested that a change to this approach could help remove some of the stigma which surrounds Huntington's and makes it difficult to get an accurate picture of its prevalence.

"Stigma has had a deleterious effect on studies that have sought to investigate its epidemiology and... the true prevalence is unquestionably greater than this," he wrote in the journal

The incurable condition affects muscle co-ordination and leads to cognitive decline as well as dementia.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2010

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