The authors examined whether the baseline cognitive functioning of 21 clinically normal huntingtin mutation carriers who developed manifest Huntington's disease on follow-up differed from that of 49 mutation carriers who remain asymptomatic over the same period in a longitudinal study. One hundred thirty-four gene-negative offspring of Huntington's disease patients were studied as well. Overall, there were no differences in cognitive test performance among the three groups. However, "converters" who developed signs of Huntington's disease within 8.6 years demonstrated poorer performance on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test at baseline. People with the Huntington's disease mutation who are carefully examined neurologically and found to be asymptomatic have, at most, very minimal problem-solving impairment, and only if they are within a few years of clinical onset.