Byron Health Center Hosts Huntington’s Disease Support Group

Byron Health Center will continue to host a monthly ‘open’ support group for those affected with Huntington’s Disease, as well as their family and friends. The next meeting is Thursday, February 2nd, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Any members of the community who have, or who have been affected by, Huntington’s disease (HD) are invited to attend the support group held on the Byron Health Center campus at 12101 Lima Rd in Fort Wayne in the Eakin Family Room. The monthly support group meetings will continue throughout 2017 on the first Thursday of each month including: March 2nd, April 6th, May 4th, June 1st, July 6th, August 3rd September 7th, October 5th, November 2nd and December 7th.

Byron Health Center has partnered with the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) and the Department of Behavioral & Social Sciences at the University of Saint Francis to make the support group possible for the northeast Indiana area. Special guest, Will Bland, Indiana HDSA Chapter Board member, is expected to present important information on the Indiana University Health HD Education Day, which is set to take place on May 13th in Indianapolis. Dr. John J. Brinkman, Ph.D., HSPP, Chair of the Department of Behavioral & Social Sciences at the University of Saint Francis, continues to moderate the support group and can be reached via phone at 260-399-7700 ext. 8425 or via email at jbrinkman . He has worked as a neuropsychologist for the past 10 years.

HD is a fatal genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. It deteriorates a person’s physical and mental abilities during their prime working years and has no cure. HD is known as the quintessential family disease because every child of a parent with HD has a 50/50 chance of carrying the faulty gene. Today, there are approximately 30,000 symptomatic Americans and more than 200,000 at-risk of inheriting the disease. Many describe the symptoms of HD as having ALS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s – simultaneously. Symptoms usually appear between the ages of 30 to 50, and worsen over a 10 to 25 year period. Ultimately, the weakened individual succumbs to pneumonia, heart failure or other complications. Everyone has the gene that causes HD, but only those that inherit the expansion of the gene will develop HD and perhaps pass it on to each of their children. Every person who inherits the expanded HD gene will eventually develop the disease. Over time, HD affects the individual’s ability to reason, walk and speak. More information about HD can be found at http://hdsa.org/what-is-hd/ .

HDSA is the premier nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of everyone affected by Huntington’s disease. From community services and education to advocacy and research, HDSA is the world’s leader in providing help for today and hope for tomorrow for people with Huntington’s disease and their families.

Byron Health Center provides compassionate long-term care for adults with complex needs including physical, mental, emotional and neurological services. Each resident is recognized as an individual who seeks and deserves to reach his or her optimal potential. Byron Health Center and Miller’s Place continue a tradition of over 160 years of serving the long-term health care needs of Indiana residents. Byron Health Center is licensed to provide intermediate and skilled nursing care while Miller’s Place provides assisted living services to individuals who are more independent and are able to live in a residential setting.