Format

Send to

Choose Destination
J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2006 Jan;31(1):21-9.

Brain imaging and cognitive dysfunctions in Huntington's disease.

Author information

1
Brain Imaging Group, Douglas Hospital Research Centre, McGill University, Montréal, Que.

Abstract

Recent decades have seen tremendous growth in our understanding of the cognitive dysfunctions observed in Huntington's disease (HD). Advances in neuroimaging have contributed greatly to this growth. We reviewed the role that structural and functional neuroimaging techniques have played in elucidating the cerebral bases of the cognitive deficits associated with HD. We conducted a computer-based search using PubMed and PsycINFO databases to retrieve studies of patients with HD published between 1965 and December 2004 that reported measures on cognitive tasks and used neuroimaging techniques. Structural neuroimaging has provided important evidence of morphological brain changes in HD. Striatal and cortical atrophy are the most common findings, and they correlate with cognitive deficits in attention, working memory and executive functions. Functional studies have also demonstrated correlations between striatal dysfunction and cognitive performance. Striatal hypoperfusion and decreased glucose utilization correlate with executive dysfunction. Hypometabolism also occurs throughout the cerebral cortex and correlates with performance on recognition memory, language and perceptual tests. Measures of presynaptic and postsynaptic dopamine biochemistry have also correlated with measurements of episodic memory, speed of processing and executive functioning. Aided by the results of numerous neuroimaging studies, it is becoming increasingly clear that cognitive deficits in HD involve abnormal connectivity between the basal ganglia and cortical areas. In the future, neuroimaging techniques may shed the most light on the pathophysiology of HD by defining neurodegenerative disease phenotypes as a valuable tool for knowing when patients become "symptomatic," having been in a gene-positive presymptomatic state, and as a biomarker in following the disease, thereby providing a prospect for improved patient care.

PMID:
16496032
PMCID:
PMC1325063
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for The Canadian Medical Association Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center