Apathy, an indicator of Huntington’s disease progression

Some modifications in the connectivity of white matter in the brain are associated with the heterogeneous nature of apathy –one of the most common psychiatric syndromes in Huntington’s disease-, according to an article published in the journal Neuroimage: Clinical.

Participants in the study are the experts of the Research Group on Cognition and Brain Plasticity from the Institute of Neurosciences of the University of Barcelona (UBNeuro) and the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL).

The main objective of the study was to study apathy “as a multidimensional syndrome, and to explore for the first time the relationship between different subtypes of apathy and the white matter connectivity in Huntington’s disease”, notes the coordinator of the study, Estela Cámara, lecturer at the Faculty of Psychology of the UB and member of UBNeuro and IDIBELL.

According to the expert Audrey DePaepe (IDIBELL), Fullbright program student and first author of the study, “distinguishing the white matter configuration from white matter related to each subtype of the Huntington’s disease can help us define the profiles of the disease through the spectrum of apathy, and therefore make the diagnostic and treatment of the disease easier”.

The new study presents an innovative methodology “using specific apathy measures and an optimized protocol to study the syndrome accurately while also taking into account the underlying heterogeneity of Huntington’s disease at an individual scale”, notes researcher Joanna Sierpowska (UB-IDIBELL).

The Bellvitge University Hospital, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Hospital Clínic de Barcelona and Hospital Mare de Déu de la Mercè, among other institutions, have also taken part in the study. 

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