Huntington's disease patients have selective problems with insight

Mov Disord. 2006 Mar;21(3):385-9. doi: 10.1002/mds.20739.


The objective of this study was to determine insight in patients with Huntington's disease (HD) by contrasting patients' ability to rate their own behavior with their ability to rate a person other than themselves. HD patients and carers completed the Dysexecutive Questionnaire (DEX), rating themselves and each other at two time points. The temporal stability of these ratings was initially examined using these two time points since there is no published test-retest reliability of the DEX with this population to date. This was followed by a comparison of patients' self-ratings and carer's independent ratings of patients by performing correlations with patients' disease variables, and an exploratory factor analysis was conducted on both sets of ratings. The DEX showed good test-retest reliability, with patients consistently and persistently underestimating the degree of their dysexecutive behavior, but not that of their carers. Patients' self-ratings and carers' ratings of patients both showed that dysexecutive behavior in HD can be fractionated into three underlying components (Cognition, Self-regulation, Insight), and the relative ranking of these factors was similar for both data sets. HD patients consistently underestimated the extent of only their own dysexecutive behaviors relative to carers' ratings by 26%, but were similar in ascribing ranks to the components of dysexecutive behavior.

MeSH terms

  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Huntington Disease / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Social Control, Informal
  • Surveys and Questionnaires