Skip to main content


Exploring computerised cognitive training for people with Huntington’s disease.

Cognitive impairments, especially deficits of executive function, have been well documented as a core and early feature in Huntington’s disease (HD). Cognitive impairments can be considerably burdensome and devastating for people and families affected by HD. Computerised cognitive training interventions that focus on improving executive function present a potentially exciting non-pharmacological treatment option. Novel work conducted in mouse models of HD, has demonstrated that cognitive training, administered from an early stage in the disease, can improve motor performance at an older age, even in the absence of further training in the intervening time. This represents proof of principle in an animal model of HD that cognitive training can improve HD disease symptoms.

Improvements associated with executive function training have also been reported in a clinical setting in a variety of neurodegenerative diseases. For example, cognitive training, can improve executive function as people age, and training specifically focused on tasks of executive function has been shown to improve both cognitive and motor outcomes in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

Therefore, this study is a feasibility study which aims to establish proof of principle for using computerised cognitive training in people with HD. We propose to determine the feasibility, acceptability and gather preliminary evidence of the effectiveness of a cognitive training intervention programme, targeted for people with HD. We will also aim to investigate the most appropriate outcome measures to use in this study and gather feedback on the cognitive training intervention from participants and nominated carers, family members or friends. We will also establish proof of concept via the study of brain structure and function, using MRI scanning techniques with colleagues in the Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC).

The Centre for Trials Research at Cardiff University is providing advisory support to Dr. Emma Yhnell as part of her Health and Care Research Wales Fellowship award.


Key facts

Start date 30 Sep 2016
End date 30 Sep 2019
Grant value £424,409
  • Analysis and reporting