Profile of cognitive progression in early Huntington's disease

Neurology. 2003 Dec 23;61(12):1702-6. doi: 10.1212/


Objective: To examine the pattern of cognitive decline in early Huntington's disease (HD).

Methods: The authors studied 61 patients with mild to moderate HD who had at least three annual neuropsychological assessments using the Core Assessment Program for Intracerebral Transplantation in Huntington's Disease short battery. A subset of 34 patients had additional neuropsychological tests, and another subset of 21 patients was assessed annually on the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery. Neuropsychological measures that changed significantly over time were submitted to a multiple analysis of covariance to explore associations with demographic and neurologic indices.

Results: Patients showed a progressive impairment in attention, executive function, and immediate memory, with timed tests of psychomotor skill being particularly sensitive to decline. In contrast, general cognition, semantic memory, and delayed recall memory were relatively unaffected.

Conclusion: The profile of cognitive performance shows selective and progressive dysfunction of attention and executive function in patients with mild to moderate HD, consistent with frontostriatal pathology at this stage of disease.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention
  • Cognition Disorders / complications
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Huntington Disease / complications
  • Huntington Disease / diagnosis*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mental Recall
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data*
  • Orientation
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Reproducibility of Results