Background Huntington’s disease (HD) is a genetically inherited, autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disease which results in movement disorder, neuropsychiatric symptoms and cognitive deficits. While the clinical effects of HD have been independently implicated in forensic risk, there are few studies exploring the issue of forensic risk in HD.
Aims To compare forensic risk factors in two HD patient groups (in-patients and out-patients).
Methods Data was collected through a retrospective review of case notes for two subject groups, hospital in-patients at an HD specialist ward (n = 18) and out-patients living in the community (n = 10). Information was gathered regarding forensic history and incidents of physical aggression along with demographic details including legal status, gender and age. Fisher’s exact tests and regression analyses assessed relationships between the prevalence of forensic history and physical aggression with gender and patient status i.e. in-patient or out-patient.
Results Fisher’s exact tests demonstrated that gender and patient status were independent of both forensic history and physical aggression. Kendall’s tau-b tests further supported these findings with no significant correlations found, with the exception of forensic history and patient status (inpatient vs. outpatient) which demonstrated a weak to moderate correlation (0.304, p < 0.05). A linear probability model was utilised which further found no significant correlations between any of the examined variables.
Conclusion The current study provides preliminary evidence to suggest that there is no correlation between HD and an increased forensic risk within the HD population. However, it was more likely that the hospital in-patients had a forensic history.