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M14 The effect of multidisciplinary therapy on cognition in premanifest huntington’s disease: an exploratory study
  1. Travis Cruickshank1,
  2. Danielle Bartlett1,
  3. Amit Lampit2,
  4. Linda Hoult1,
  5. Andrew Govus3,
  6. Tim Pulverenti1,
  7. Tim Rankin1,
  8. Alvaro Reyes4,
  9. Juan F Domínguez D5,
  10. Catarina Kordsachia5,
  11. Brian Power6,
  12. Robert U Newton1,
  13. Kirk Feindel7,
  14. Nellie Georgiou-Karistianis5,
  15. Mel Ziman1
  1. 1School of Medical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia
  2. 2School of Psychology, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  3. 3Department of Sports Science and Physical Activity, University of Bedfordshire, Bedford, UK
  4. 4Carrera de Kinesiología, UDA Ciencias de la Salud. Facultad de Medicina. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile
  5. 5Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences, School of Psychological Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
  6. 6School of Medicine, University of Notre Dame, Perth, Australia
  7. 7University of Western Australia, Centre for Microscopy, Charaterisation and Analysis, Perth, Western Australia, Australia


Background Despite immense scientific efforts, there are still no proven drug agents that delay or treat cognitive impairments in individuals with Huntington’s disease (HD). Recent clinical and preclinical data suggests that environmental interventions have a positive impact on many cognitive domains that are affected by HD. There are, however, no empirical studies on the effect of environmental interventions on cognition in individuals with premanifest HD. Intervening during this early stage of the disease may support and/or boost cognitive abilities in affected individuals.

Aims To evaluate the effectiveness of a nine month multidisciplinary therapy intervention on cognition in individuals with premanifest HD.

Methods Eighteen individuals with premanifest HD (13 women, 5 men; 43 ± 13 years) undertook a multidisciplinary therapy intervention for nine months. The intervention consisted of three times weekly supervised aerobic and resistance exercise, dual task and computerised cognitive training. Participants were assessed using validated cognitive measures before and after the intervention.

Results Participants completed all mandatory training sessions throughout the study. Significant improvements in verbal learning and memory (Hopkins Verbal Learning Test), information processing speed (Symbol Digit Modalities Test), attention (Trail Making Test Part A), cognitive flexibility (Trail Making Test Part B) and problem solving (One Touch Stockings of Cambridge) were observed following the intervention.

Conclusions This study provides preliminary evidence on the positive effects of multidisciplinary therapy on cognition in individuals with premanifest HD. Larger controlled trials are, however, required to confirm these promising findings.

  • environmental modifiers
  • multidisciplinary therapy
  • cognition
  • premanifest
  • rehabilitation

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