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What happens in cognitive testing?

September 5, 2014

Huntington's Disease Youth Organization

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What happens in cognitive testing?

Q. What do they do for cognitive testing they said my appointment was going to be about 4 hours im nervous but really want to know of i inherited the gene from my father.

Alex, Young Adult, USA

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A. Dear Alex,

Thanks for the email. Different centres do different kinds of cognitive tests. Most centres will just start by asking you if you have difficulties doing the everyday things in life (cooking, washing clothes, organising a shopping list, paying bills, doing your regular job).

Some centres will ask you to do more formal tests, which might include tests of your memory or your ability to solve problems. Some tests look at your ability to focus on something whilst being distracted by something else. Other tests might look at your ability to switch your thinking from one thing to another.

When it comes to the question of whether or not you have inherited the gene from your father, cognitive tests are not particularly useful (you can have cognitive problems for a range of reasons that are not HD, and some people with HD can do very well on cognitive tests). The best way of knowing whether or not you have inherited the gene from your father is to do a blood test to see if the gene is present in your blood or not.

I hope this answers your question.

Best wishes

Hugh Rickards