Objective: Discrepancies exist in reports of social cognition deficits in individuals with premanifest Huntington's disease (HD); however, the reason for this variability has not been investigated. The aims of this study were to (1) evaluate group- and individual-level social cognitive performance and (2) examine intra-individual variability (dispersion) across social cognitive domains in individuals with premanifest HD. Method: Theory of mind (ToM), social perception, empathy, and social connectedness were evaluated in 35 individuals with premanifest HD and 29 healthy controls. Cut-off values beneath the median and 1.5 × the interquartile range below the 25th percentile (P25 - 1.5 × IQR) of healthy controls for each variable were established for a profiling method. Dispersion between social cognitive domains was also calculated. Results: Compared to healthy controls, individuals with premanifest HD performed worse on all social cognitive domains except empathy. Application of the profiling method revealed a large proportion of people with premanifest HD fell below healthy control median values across ToM (>80%), social perception (>57%), empathy (>54%), and social behaviour (>40%), with a percentage of these individuals displaying more pronounced impairments in empathy (20%) and ToM (22%). Social cognition dispersion did not differ between groups. No significant correlations were found between social cognitive domains and mood, sleep, and neurocognitive outcomes. Conclusions: Significant group-level social cognition deficits were observed in the premanifest HD cohort. However, our profiling method showed that only a small percentage of these individuals experienced marked difficulties in social cognition, indicating the importance of individual-level assessments, particularly regarding future personalised treatments.
|Journal||Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 5 May 2021|