Characterization of a Large Group of Individuals with Huntington Disease and Their Relatives Enrolled in the COHORT Study


Formal Correction: This article has been formally corrected to address the following errors.

  1. There was an error in the author byline. The correct byline should read: the Huntington Study Group COHORT Investigators. Author E. Ray Dorsey remains corresponding author of the article. The correct citation is: the Huntington Study Group COHORT… (read formal correction)



1Careful characterization of the phenotype and genotype of Huntington disease (HD) can foster better understanding of the condition.


We conducted a cohort study in the United States, Canada, and Australia of members of families affected by HD. We collected demographic and clinical data, conducted the Unified Huntington’s Disease Rating Scale and Mini-Mental State Examination, and determined Huntingtin trinucleotide CAG repeat length. We report primarily on cross-sectional baseline data from this recently completed prospective, longitudinal, observational study.


As of December 31, 2009, 2,318 individuals enrolled; of these, 1,985 (85.6%) were classified into six analysis groups. Three groups had expanded CAG alleles (36 repeats or more): individuals with clinically diagnosed HD [n = 930], and clinically unaffected first-degree relatives who had previously pursued [n = 248] or not pursued [n = 112] predictive DNA testing. Three groups lacked expanded alleles: first-degree relatives who had previously pursued [n = 41] or not pursued [n = 224] genetic testing, and spouses and caregivers [n = 430]. Baseline mean performance differed across groups in all motor, behavioral, cognitive, and functional measures (p<0.001). Clinically unaffected individuals with expanded alleles weighed less (76.0 vs. 79.6 kg; p = 0.01) and had lower cognitive scores (28.5 vs. 29.1 on the Mini Mental State Examination; p = 0.008) than individuals without expanded alleles. The frequency of “high normal” repeat lengths (27 to 35) was 2.5% and repeat lengths associated with reduced penetrance (36 to 39) was 2.7%.




Source: PLoS One

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