The effects of multidisciplinary rehabilitation on neuroimaging, biological, cognitive and motor outcomes in individuals with premanifest Huntington's disease

Danielle M. Bartlett, Andrew Govus, Timothy Rankin, Amit Lampit, Kirk Feindel, Govinda Poudel, Wei Peng Teo, Johnny Lo, Nellie Georgiou-Karistianis, Mel R. Ziman, Travis M. Cruickshank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background: Huntington's disease (HD) is a chronic, progressive neurodegenerative condition for which there are currently no proven disease-modifying therapies. Lifestyle factors have been shown to impact on the age of disease onset and progression of disease features. We therefore investigated the effects of a nine-month multidisciplinary rehabilitation intervention on neuroimaging, biological and clinical disease outcomes in individuals with premanifest HD. Methods: 31 individuals with premanifest HD participated in the study. Eighteen participants underwent a nine-month multidisciplinary rehabilitation intervention comprising aerobic and resistance exercise, computerised cognitive training, dual-task training and sleep hygiene and nutritional guidance. The remaining 13 participants were allocated to a standard care control group. Neuroimaging, biological, cognitive, motor and cardiorespiratory fitness data was collected. Results: Participants displayed good adherence (87%) and compliance (85%) to the intervention. Maintenance of the shape of the right putamen was observed in the intervention group when compared to the control group. The intervention group displayed significant improvements in verbal learning and memory, attention, cognitive flexibility and processing speed following the intervention when compared to the control group. Performance on the mini-social cognition and emotional assessment (mini-SEA) was maintained in the intervention group, but decreased in the control group. No changes were observed in serum neurofilament light protein levels, postural stability outcomes or cardiorespiratory fitness. Conclusion: This study adds to the accumulating body of literature to suggest that multidisciplinary rehabilitation is of clinical benefit for individuals with HD. Large randomised controlled trials are necessary to determine the extent to which benefits occur across the spectrum of the disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117022
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2020


  • Cardiorespiratory fitness
  • MRI
  • Neurofilament light protein
  • Postural stability
  • Striatal shape

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