Find your care
UCLA Health excellence in neurogenetics
The UCLA Health neurogenetics team diagnoses, treats and studies a variety of genetic neurological disorders. We offer therapies designed to improve your quality of life and function. Other centers nationwide recognize us for our specialists’ expertise and exceptional services.
Highlights of our program include:
Nationally recognized expertise: We are a tertiary referral center for the Genetically Handicapped Persons Program (GHPP) through California. This designation means that other physicians and institutions trust our experts to treat patients with the most complex needs. We receive referrals from across the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Pacific Rim.
Research focus: Our specialists participate in multiple research studies funded through the National Institutes of Health. We continually offer patients the newest, most effective treatments, including through clinical trials.
Training the next generation of leaders: Our physicians train medical students, graduate students, residents, fellows and postdoctoral researchers. Through this training, we commit to ensuring that patients have access to expert clinicians for years to come.
The neurogeneticists at UCLA Health provide patient care and research in several clinics and centers, including:
Our specialists diagnose and treat rare neurogenetic disorders. State-of-the-art technology, such as clinical exome sequencing, helps us create precise care plans. We routinely participate in and lead clinical trials to improve patient care.
Our Ataxia Center was one of the first nationally recognized ataxia programs, serving up to 200 new patients yearly. Overall, we care for more than 2,500 patients and families with genetic and nongenetic forms of ataxia. This center is also home to the Huntington’s Disease Society of America Center of Excellence at UCLA Health.
Clinical Neurogenomics Research Center
The center is one of the first in the country to perform neurogenomics research. Rather than studying individual genes, neurogenomics evaluates entire DNA sequences. Our goal is to improve clinical care by offering individualized treatment plans. We partner with the UCLA Institute for Precision Health to offer patients genetic counseling and access to clinical trials.
Genetic neurological disorders we treat
Neurogenetic conditions include those caused by a change (mutation) in one or more genes. They may be inherited from family members, or they may develop for no known reason. Some of the common neurogenetic conditions we treat include:
Alzheimer’s disease: A progressive disease that leads to a decline in memory and other mental functions
Ataxia telangiectasia: A progressive, hereditary condition that leads to difficulty walking and an increased risk of certain cancers
Autism: A neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by difficulty with social skills, relationships, communication and behavior regulation
Epilepsy: A chronic disorder that causes uncontrolled, unprovoked seizures from sudden rushes of irregular electrical activity in the brain
Friedreich’s ataxia: A progressive hereditary disorder that causes fatigue, difficulty walking and slowed speech
Frontotemporal dementia: A decline in mental function that occurs when nerve cells shrink in the frontal and temporal lobes, the parts of the brain associated with personality, language and behavior
Huntington’s disease: A rare hereditary condition that causes progressive breakdown in the brain’s nerve cells
Parkinson’s disease: A progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement, often leading to tremors or loss of balance
Spinocerebellar ataxia: A group of disorders characterized by a breakdown in the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls movement, and possibly the spinal cord
Treatments we offer
Many genetic diseases have no cure. But we can offer treatment to reduce symptoms and improve your quality of life. Treatment for a neurogenetic disease may include:
Medication: Your provider may prescribe medicines to improve coordination or reduce symptoms such as tremors, seizures or irregular movements.
Genetic counseling: A genetic counselor may help you understand genetic diseases and how they could affect other family members, including your children.
Our neurogenetics specialists diagnose, treat and research a range of complex neurogenetic disorders. We train residents, fellows and postdoctoral researchers to increase understanding and treatment of these conditions. Our research involvement allows eligible patients access to new therapies through clinical trials.