Effects of task difficulty during dual-task circle tracing in Huntington’s disease

Ria Vaportzis, Nellie Georgiou-Karistianis, Andrew Churchyard, Julie Stout

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    7 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Huntington’s disease (HD) is associated with impairments in dual task performance. Despite that, only a few studies have investigated dual tasking in HD. We examined dual task performance in 15 participants in the early stages of HD and 15 healthy controls. Participants performed direct circle tracing (able to view arm) and indirect circle tracing (arm obscured) either on their own (single tasks) or paired with serial subtraction by twos or threes (dual tasks). Overall, our results suggested that HD participants were significantly slower and less accurate than controls. Both groups were slower and less accurate when performing indirect circle tracing compared with direct circle tracing. HD participants experienced greater dual task interference in terms of accuracy when performing direct circle tracing compared with indirect circle tracing. Despite that, controls were more inclined to speed-accuracy trade-offs compared with HD participants. Importantly, unlike controls, HD participants were not disproportionately faster when performing direct circle tracing as a single task compared with the dual task conditions. Our results suggest that simple tasks place greater attentional demands on HD participants compared with controls. These findings support that impaired automaticity may be responsible for some of the attentional deficits manifested in HD.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)268-276
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Neurology
    Volume262
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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