Category: Huntington's Disease
Objective: The aim of the present study was to further examine the syntactic impairment in HD on the basis of the disease progression and in line with the complexity classification predicted by
the Featural Relativized Minimality, and to clarify thepotential impairment of the language- Theory of Mind (ToM) interface by adopting a novel approach regulating the repetition of R-expressions.
Background: Syntactic difficulties have recently emerged as sensitive indexes of the initial fronto-striatal dysfunction in Huntington’s disease (HD). Moreover, a problem with the use of referring expressions has been identified in narrative spontaneous speech, and hypothesized to be related to the impairment of the ToM.
Method: Two different picture-sentence matching tasks have been administered to a sample of Italian speaking patients with HD and compared to a control group of healthy individuals. The first task examined the subject-object relatives asymmetry, whereas the second test is a replication of the study conducted with patients having impaired ToM. Additionally, the analysis of these deficits has been performed in view of the disease progression, severity and clinical features using the UHDRS.
Results: A gradual impairment of syntactic comprehension abilities has been reported on the basis of the disease progression and of structure complexity in accordance to the theoretical
assumptions of the Featural Relativized Minimality theory. A potential damage of the language-ToM interface also emerged by the results of the second experiment.
Conclusion: These results support the actual views considering the syntactic deficit as a potential biomarker for an inexpensive and non-invasive detection of the disease onset. In
particular, the language-ToM emerged as early dysfunction even before syntactic alterations emerging as a sensitive domain to be investigated in absence of other relevant symptomatic manifestations.
To cite this abstract in AMA style:A. Nuzzi. Syntactic and Theory of Mind difficulties in Huntington’s disease [abstract]. Mov Disord. 2021; 36 (suppl 1). https://www.mdsabstracts.org/abstract/syntactic-and-theory-of-mind-difficulties-in-huntingtons-disease/. Accessed November 29, 2023.
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