Refining the diagnosis of huntington disease: The PREDICT-HD study

Kevin M. Biglan, Ying Zhang, Jeffrey D. Long, Michael Geschwind, Gail A. Kang, Annie Killoran, Wenjing Lu, Elizabeth McCusker, James A. Mills, Lynn A. Raymond, Claudia Testa, Joanne Wojcieszek, Jane S. Paulsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Participants with the gene expansion for Huntington disease (HD) but not yet diagnosed were evaluated annually. Unidimensional diagnosis (UD) was a motor diagnosis defined as a diagnostic confidence level (DCL) of 4 (unequivocal motor signs, ≥99% confidence) on the standardized motor exam of the Unified Huntington Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS). Multidimensional diagnosis (MD) was defined as answering yes on Question 80 (Q80) of the UHDRS, ≥99% confidence of manifest HD based on the entire UHDRS. Motor, cognitive, and behavioral measures of phenotype at first diagnosis were compared by t-tests between participants diagnosed via motor exam (UD) and those diagnosed via multidimensional input (MD). Cluster analysis identified clusters based on UHDRS domains.186 participants received a diagnosis of HD during a maximum of 6.4 years of follow-up. In 108 (58.1%) the diagnosis by MD and UD occurred simultaneously, while in 69 (37.1%) the diagnosis by MD occurred prior to UD. Participants who were diagnosed by MD prior to UD were less impaired on motor (12.2 ± 6.7 vs. 22.4 ± 9.3, p < 0.0001), and cognitive (290.7 ± 56.2 vs. 258.0 ± 53.7, p = 0.0002), but not behavioral measures (16.3 ± 21.2 vs. 18.6 ± 22.1, p = 0.49) when compared with those diagnosed simultaneously. Cluster analysis identified three clusters that represented primarily cognitively impaired, behaviorally impaired, and cognitively preserved phenotypes. A multidimensional method results in an earlier diagnosis with less motor and cognitive impairment than a motor diagnosis. Findings have implications for designing preventive trials and providing clinical care in prodromal HD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberArticle 12
JournalFrontiers in Aging Neuroscience
Issue numberAPR
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Cohort studies
  • Huntington's disease
  • Natural history studies
  • Outcome research
  • Trinucleotide repeat diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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