Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Jessica Ann Turner

Abstract

Huntington’s disease (HD) is a fatal neurodegenerative genetic disease that causes motor difficulties, mood impairment, and cognitive dysfunction. Prodromal Huntington’s disease (PrHD) refers to people who carry the mutated huntingtin (htt) gene, but do not yet fit the criteria needed for a full diagnosis. Changes in mood typically begin in the prodromal phase, and apathy is a particularly devastating change that progresses in severity throughout the course of the disease. We investigated neural connectivity changes that could be associated with apathy severity within this population. We performed a seed-based connectivity analysis on resting state scans of 89 (PrHD) patients, with the supplementary motor area, bilateral caudate and caudate head as our regions of interest. We found that apathy severity was significantly correlated with increased connectivity between the caudate head and the supplementary motor area (p = 0.03). Further analyses are needed to establish the extent of the effect of caudate atrophy on this relationship, which we would predict would be highly related due to the degenerative nature of the disease.

Available for download on Wednesday, May 08, 2019

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