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Visuospatial Processing Deficits Linked to Posterior Brain Regions in Premanifest and Early Stage Huntington’s Disease

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 May 2016

Izelle Labuschagne
Affiliation:
School of Psychological Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia School of Psychology, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Amy Mulick Cassidy
Affiliation:
Department of Medical Statistics, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom
Rachael I. Scahill
Affiliation:
UCL Institute of Neurology, University College London, United Kingdom
Eileanoir B. Johnson
Affiliation:
UCL Institute of Neurology, University College London, United Kingdom
Elin Rees
Affiliation:
UCL Institute of Neurology, University College London, United Kingdom
Alison O’Regan
Affiliation:
School of Psychological Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia
Sarah Queller
Affiliation:
Queller Consulting, Dunedin, Florida
Chris Frost
Affiliation:
Department of Medical Statistics, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom
Blair R. Leavitt
Affiliation:
Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics, Department of Medical Genetics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Alexandra Dürr
Affiliation:
Department of Genetics and Cytogenetics, and INSERMUMR S679, APHP, ICM Institute, Hôpital de la Salpêtrière, Paris, France
Raymond Roos
Affiliation:
Department of Neurology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, Netherlands
Gail Owen
Affiliation:
UCL Institute of Neurology, University College London, United Kingdom
Beth Borowsky
Affiliation:
CHDI Management/CHDI Foundation, Princeton, New Jersey
Sarah J. Tabrizi
Affiliation:
UCL Institute of Neurology, University College London, United Kingdom
Julie C. Stout*
Affiliation:
School of Psychological Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia
*
Correspondence and reprint requests to: Julie C. Stout, School of Psychological Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 3800. E-mail: julie.stout@monash.edu

Abstract

Objectives: Visuospatial processing deficits have been reported in Huntington’s disease (HD). To date, no study has examined associations between visuospatial cognition and posterior brain findings in HD. Methods: We compared 119 premanifest (55> and 64<10.8 years to expected disease onset) and 104 early symptomatic (59 stage-1 and 45 stage-2) gene carriers, with 110 controls on visual search and mental rotation performance at baseline and 12 months. In the disease groups, we also examined associations between task performance and disease severity, functional capacity and structural brain measures. Results: Cross-sectionally, there were strong differences between all disease groups and controls on visual search, and between diagnosed groups and controls on mental rotation accuracy. Only the premanifest participants close to onset took longer than controls to respond correctly to mental rotation. Visual search negatively correlated with disease burden and motor symptoms in diagnosed individuals, and positively correlated with functional capacity. Mental rotation (“same”) was negatively correlated with motor symptoms in stage-2 individuals, and positively correlated with functional capacity. Visual search and mental rotation were associated with parieto-occipital (pre-/cuneus, calcarine, lingual) and temporal (posterior fusiform) volume and cortical thickness. Longitudinally, visual search deteriorated over 12 months in stage-2 individuals, with no evidence of declines in mental rotation. Conclusions: Our findings provide evidence linking early visuospatial deficits to functioning and posterior cortical dysfunction in HD. The findings are important since large research efforts have focused on fronto-striatal mediated cognitive changes, with little attention given to aspects of cognition outside of these areas. (JINS, 2016, 22, 595–608)

Type
Research Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The International Neuropsychological Society 2016 

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