Journal of Neurology

, Volume 266, Issue 6, pp 1340–1350 | Cite as

Non-motor symptoms in Huntington’s disease: a comparative study with Parkinson’s disease

  • Tatiana Aldaz
  • Pasquale Nigro
  • Almudena Sánchez-Gómez
  • Celia Painous
  • Lluís Planellas
  • Pilar Santacruz
  • Ana Cámara
  • Yaroslau Compta
  • Francesc Valldeoriola
  • Maria J. Martí
  • Esteban MuñozEmail author
Original Communication



The presence of non-motor symptoms in Huntington’s disease (HD) has not been systematically assessed so far. Our objective was to know their prevalence and to compare it with a cohort of patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD).

Materials and methods

Participants were consecutively recruited from our outpatient clinic. They were assessed through the motor part of the Unified Huntington’s Disease Rating Scale, the motor part of the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale, the total functional capacity scale and the PD non-motor symptoms questionnaire.


We enrolled 123 participants: 53 HD, 45 PD and 25 healthy controls (HC). Non-motor symptoms were significantly more prevalent in HD patients than in HC. The most frequent non-motor symptoms in HD, involving more than 50% of patients, were attentional deficits, apathy, dysphagia, memory complaints, depression falls, insomnia and urinary urgency. The total score of non-motor symptoms correlated with disease duration, total functional capacity and disease stage. HD scored significantly higher than PD in 11 items (dysphagia, constipation, bowel incontinence, faecal tenesmus, weight loss, memory, apathy, attention, falls, nightmares, delusions) and in four domains (cognitive, hallucinations and delusions, digestive and cardiovascular). PD did not score significantly higher than HD in any domain.


HD patients have a high prevalence of non-motor symptoms, which is even higher than in PD, and correlates with disease progression.


Huntington’s disease Parkinson’s disease Non-motor symptoms PD NMSQuest 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standards

The authors state that this study has been approved by the ethic committee of Hospital Clinic of Barcelona and have been performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tatiana Aldaz
    • 1
  • Pasquale Nigro
    • 1
  • Almudena Sánchez-Gómez
    • 1
  • Celia Painous
    • 1
  • Lluís Planellas
    • 1
  • Pilar Santacruz
    • 1
    • 4
  • Ana Cámara
    • 1
  • Yaroslau Compta
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Francesc Valldeoriola
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Maria J. Martí
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Esteban Muñoz
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Unit, Department of NeurologyHospital Clinic of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Institut de NeurociènciesUniversity of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Institut d’Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS)BarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.European Huntington’s Disease Network (EHDN)BarcelonaSpain

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