Avera Medical Minute: Huntington's Disease - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Avera Medical Minute: Huntington's Disease

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Betty Strom is the President of the Sioux Valley Chapter Huntington's Disease Society of America. Betty Strom is the President of the Sioux Valley Chapter Huntington's Disease Society of America.

It's estimated that by the year 2015, 1 in 5 of Americans will be affected by a neurodegenerative disease. Huntington's Disease could be one of them.  It is an inherited disorder that slowly eats away the nerves cells in your brain.  If you have it, there is a 50% your child will have it. We introduce you to a Sioux Falls woman is trying to raise awareness about a disease that took the life of her husband of 43 years.


Betty Strom spends a good chunk of her day in her office. She works part time from home and is also the President of the Sioux Valley Chapter of the Huntington's Disease Society of America.   She lost her husband David to the brain wasting disease last year.


Avera Neurologist Dr. Harlan Payne with Neurology Associates says, "A lot of times it shows up with behavioral changes. It could be a whole bunch of things depression, tension, memory problems."


 David was a science teacher at West Central and a State Legislator from 1979 to 1984. Betty says he started showing signs of the disease in his late 40's and by the time he was 55 he had to retire from teaching because the disease was taking it's toll on him. It only got worse until he finally succumb to it at the age of 64. He spent the last year of his life in a nursing home.


Betty says, "It slowly deteriorates the brain. His math skills start to go and that's what I started to notice first."


Betty says it's was like a short circuit in his brain. David had trouble with sequencing. A lot of us have gone in to a room and forgot what we went in there for in the first place, but it got to be like that for David on a number of things.


Dr. Payne says, "Eventually that leads to dementia, but that often takes 20 years to occur."


Betty says, "They eventually become a person you really don't know. There's a glimpses of that person, but they become a different person they really do."


Scientists have isolated the chromosome that causes the genetic defect, but more research is needed to figure out how to prevent it from forming in the first place. Research is expensive that's why Betty and the local HDSA is hosting the 1st annual Walk for a Cure in Sioux Falls at Pasley Park on April 25th to raise awareness and money.


Betty says, "That's what we want, to find a cure for this horrible disease because it goes on so long and is so destructive to families."


Huntington's Disease Walk For a Cure

Registration Starts at 10:00 am, the 5k & 10k walk/run is at 11:00 am.

(Rain Date is May 2nd)

The cost is $20 a head of time or $25 the day of the walk.

Mail To:

Sioux Valley Chapter HSDA

P.O. Box 2675

Sioux Falls, SD 57101-2675


Make Checks Payable To:

"HDSA-Sioux Valley Chapter" and note in the memo: Team Hope-Walk for a Cure


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