Asymptomatic sleep abnormalities are a common early feature in patients with Huntington's disease

Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2011 Apr;11(2):211-7. doi: 10.1007/s11910-010-0163-x.


Huntington's disease (HD) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by motor, cognitive, and psychiatric disturbance. In this article, we used polysomnography, actigraphy and a variety of validated questionnaires to ascertain the extent to which sleep changes are identifiable and measurable in mild stage HD, and importantly, to see whether patients are negatively impacted by the changes in their sleep. We found significant differences in sleep architecture and sleep efficiency in patients compared with controls using polysomnography. However, patient scores on the Functional Outcomes of Sleep Questionnaire, Medical Outcomes of Sleep Scale, and Epworth Sleepiness Scale were not significantly different to controls. These results suggest that although marked changes in sleep architecture are present in early HD and can be detected using polysomnography, patients do not necessarily recognize or report these abnormalities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actigraphy
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Huntington Disease / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysomnography*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires