We focused on Cognitive Reserve (CR) in patients with early Huntington Disease (HD) and investigated whether clinical outcomes might be influenced by lifetime intellectual enrichment over time. CR was evaluated by means of the Cognitive Reserve Index questionnaire (CRIq), an internationally validated scale which includes three sections: education, working activity, and leisure time. The clinical HD variables were quantified at three different time points (baseline-t0, 1 year follow up-t1 and 2 years follow up-t2) as per the Unified Huntington’s Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS), an internationally standardized and validated scale including motor, cognitive, functional and behavioral assays. Our sample consisted of 75 early manifest patients, withclinical stage scored according to the Total Functional Capacity (TFC) scale. Our correlational analysis highlighted a significant inverse association between CRIq leisure time (CRIq_LA) and longitudinal functional impairment (namely, the differential TFC score between t2 and t0 or ∆TFC) (p < 0.05), and the multidimensional progression of HD as measured by the composite UHDRS (cUHDRS, p < 0.01). CRIq_LA was significantly and positively associated with better cognitive performances at all time points (p < 0.05). Our results suggest that higher is the CRIq_LA, milder is the progression of HD in terms of functional, multidimensional and cognitive outcome.
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