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Huntington's disease, the Young Adult Study (HD-YAS)

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Abstract: Huntington’s disease (HD) is an inherited, neurodegenerative disease, where the striatum is particularly susceptible to degeneration. Studies have examined cognitive impairments in both manifest and pre-manifest HD patients. We conducted a unique study where participants were very far from disease onset (mean= 23.6 years). The Huntington’s disease Young Adult Study (HD-YAS) recruited young adults with pre-manifest HD (n=64) and controls (n=67) matched for age, IQ, and sex. All participants underwent detailed neuropsychological assessments, including tests from the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery and a battery assessing emotion, motivation, impulsivity and social cognition (EMOTICOM). In a sub-set of participants we specifically examined whether cognitive flexibility, assessed by the CANTAB Intra-Extra Dimensional Set Shifting Task, was associated with frontal-striatal circuits, previously identified as underlying cognitive flexibility.

Biography: Dr Christelle Langley is a Cognitive Neuroscientist, she received her PhD from the University of Bristol in 2018. Her PhD focused on understanding the relationship between fatigue and cognition in Multiple Sclerosis, with particular emphasis on the neural mechanisms. She joined the University of Cambridge Department of Psychiatry in Professor Barbara J. Sahakian’s lab in early 2019. In collaboration with UCL she has been examining cognitive impairment in young pre-manifest Huntington’s Disease patients and with the University of Copenhagen is examining the role of serotonin in cognition.

This talk is part of the Department of Psychiatry & CPFT Thursday Lunchtime Seminar Series series.

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