UAMS Adds Huntington’s Clinic to Movement Disorders Care

By ChaseYavondaC

The clinic’s multidisciplinary team includes movement disorder neurologists, nurses and nurse practitioners with expertise in Huntington disease, social workers, nutritionists and speech and physical therapists. The clinic partners with neuropsychologists, psychiatrists and genetic counselors for quick referrals.

“Huntington’s disease can be incredibly challenging for the individual and their family, and specialized care can be difficult to find. Most patients travel out of state for care or do the best they can by working with their family doctor,” said Rohit Dhall, M.D., director of neurodegenerative disorders and associate professor in the Department of Neurology in the UAMS College of Medicine. “With the clinic, they can receive the expert care they need in one place, working with our schedulers to have their needs met with as few trips as possible.”

Huntington’s disease is an inherited neurological condition that slowly causes a breakdown among the nerve cells in the brain, which affects movement, thinking and mental state. As the disease progresses, people with Huntington’s need help with all aspects of their daily lives and become bedridden in the final stages of the disease.

To make an appointment, call 501-526-5443.

Huntington’s is a rare condition affecting about 30,000 people in the United States and 150-200 in Arkansas.

While there are no treatments that stop the disease’s progression, there are supportive care resources and medications to help patients manage symptoms. There have been advancements in care, with newer medications developed in the past five years.

Dhall also hopes to connect patients with Huntington’s research. He has experience in clinical trials for Huntington’s disease and worked on trials for two medications aimed at helping patients maintain motor skills.

The clinic can also connect patients with genetic testing and counseling, which is an important part of Huntington’s care. Each child of a parent with Huntington’s has a 50 percent chance of inheriting the disease. Working with a genetic counselor is helpful for people considering being tested for Huntington’s or people with Huntington’s who are considering having children.

Tuhin Virmani, M.D., Ph.D., is director of the Movement Disorders Clinic at UAMS and said the Huntington’s clinic adds to its overall mission of serving patients with movement disorders, which includes Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor.

“Too often, people with Huntington’s slip through the cracks in health care,” Virmani said. “Our intent is to not only connect these families with our clinical expertise and access to research, but to build a structure of support.”

UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS' clinical enterprise including its hospital, regional clinics and clinics it operates or staffs in cooperation with other providers. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report recognized UAMS Medical Center as a Best Hospital for 2021-22; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide for the third year; and named five areas as high performing — colon cancer surgery, diabetes, hip replacement, knee replacement and stroke. Forbes magazine ranked UAMS as seventh in the nation on its Best Employers for Diversity list. UAMS also ranked in the top 30% nationwide on Forbes’ Best Employers for Women list and was the only Arkansas employer included. UAMS has 2,876 students, 898 medical residents and six dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children's, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.