Language impairment in Huntington’s disease

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Abstract
Language alterations in Huntington’s disease (HD) are reported, but their nature and correlation with other cognitive impairments are still under investigation. This study aimed to characterize the language disturbances in HD and to correlate them to motor and cognitive aspects of the disease. We studied 23 HD patients and 23 controls, matched for age and schooling, using the Boston Diagnostic Aphasia Examination, Boston Naming Test, the Token Test, Animal fluency, Action fluency, FAS-COWA, the Symbol Digit Modalities Test, the Stroop Test and the Hooper Visual Organization Test (HVOT). HD patients performed poorer in verbal fluency (p<0.0001), oral comprehension (p<0.0001), repetition (p<0.0001), oral agility (p<0.0001), reading comprehension (p=0.034) and narrative writing (p<0.0001). There was a moderate correlation between the Expressive Component and Language Competency Indexes and the HVOT (r=0.519, p=0.011 and r=0.450, p=0.031, respectively). Language alterations in HD seem to reflect a derangement in both frontostriatal and frontotemporal regions.

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