Effects of depression on working memory in presymptomatic Huntington's disease

J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2001 Summer;13(3):342-6. doi: 10.1176/jnp.13.3.342.


Cognitive decline may precede motor symptoms in Huntington's disease (HD). Depression is common in HD and has also been linked with cognitive impairment. The contribution of depression to cognition in individuals presymptomatic for HD (N=15) was investigated. Tests from the Cambridge Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Battery measured visual and working memory. Depression was assessed with the Beck Depression Inventory and the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale. Depressed mood and estimated time to disease onset, calculated by using DNA mutation length, both were significant predictors of working memory performance. Findings are consistent with and contribute to existing research with individuals presymptomatic for HD, identifying a potentially remediable contribution to cognitive decline (i.e., depressed mood).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / etiology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Huntington Disease / diagnosis
  • Huntington Disease / psychology*
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / diagnosis
  • Memory Disorders / etiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Severity of Illness Index