The proportion of deaths attributed to suicide was examined among 506 deceased individuals with diagnosed or suspected Huntington's Disease from New England USA. Comparison of this proportion with that of the general population indicated that the odds of a death being due to suicide in the Huntington's disease group is 8.2 times that of the Massachusetts population for persons aged 50 to 69 yr, but no difference appears in the 10 to 49 yr age group. Among the 157 Huntington's disease patients for whom cause of death was known, the corresponding odds estimates are 23.0 for the 50 to 69 yr age group and 2.7 for the 10 to 49 yr age group. More than half of the suicides occurred in individuals who showed early signs of the illness but who had not been diagnosed, suggesting that suicide may occur more frequently in the early stages of the illness.
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