Background: Structural abnormalities of the striatum and cognitive impairments have consistently been shown in patients with Huntington's disease (HD). Fewer studies have examined other cerebral structures in early HD and potential associations with cognition.
Method: Ten patients with early HD and 10 matched control subjects underwent magnetic resonance imaging to provide quantitative measures (volumes) of cortical gray and white matter and the caudate, putamen, and thalamus. Patients completed the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale, including three cognitive tasks.
Results: Although striatal volumes were clearly reduced, white matter was also morphologically abnormal. Cortical gray matter volume was not significantly correlated with cognitive performance. However, the cognitive tasks were most highly correlated with cerebral white matter and, to a lesser degree, striatal volume.
Conclusions: Cerebral white matter volume may be an important variable to examine in future studies of HD.