Does Interval between Screening and Baseline Matter in HD Cognitive Clinical Trials?

Leigh J. Beglinger, William H. Adams, Douglas Langbehn, Jess G. Fiedorowicz, John Caviness, Kevin Biglan, Blair Olson, Jane S. Paulsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: "Practice effects" (PE), or performance improvements due to prior exposure to testing, are known to confound cognitive test results, particularly when short intervals occur between two test sessions. Objective: We examined two subsamples with short or long re-test intervals from a recent clinical trial. Methods: Thirty-four non-depressed adults with mild Huntington Disease (HD) participated. Three cognitive tests were administered at screening and again at baseline, before active treatment randomization. Half the sample had a 24-hour retest interval while the other half was >6-days. Results: The two groups differed on demographic/clinical factors (age, Total Motor Score and Total Functional Capacity). After controlling for age and motor score, PE differences were found on three of the five UHDRS cognitive tests: the longer interval group showed larger PE on Symbol-Digit Modalities and Stroop color, while the rapid interval group had larger PE on Stroop interference. Controlling for screening cognitive performance yielded similar results. Conclusions: Length of interval between screening and baseline visits and level of disease severity may influence stability of UHDRS cognitive test results in clinical trials in HD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-144
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Huntington's Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014


  • Huntington disease
  • cognitive disorders/dementia
  • neuropsychological assessment
  • practice effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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