Huntington Disease Affects Driving Skill Even in Early Stages

Hannes Devos, PhD Assistant Professor Assistant Director Georgia Regents University Driving Simulator Lab Department of Physical Therapy College of Allied Health Sciences Georgia Regents University Augusta, GA 30912MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Hannes Devos, PhD
Assistant Professor
Assistant Director Georgia Regents University Driving Simulator Lab Department of Physical Therapy
College of Allied Health Sciences
Georgia Regents University Augusta, GA 30912

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Devos: We compared on-road driving performance between 30 active drivers with Huntington disease and 30 age- and gender- matched control drivers. We found that Huntington disease affects all levels of driving skill due to motor and cognitive deficits and leads to unsafe driving, even in the early stages of the disease. Fourteen (47%) drivers with Huntington disease failed the road test compared with none of the controls.


MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Devos: This is the first study that looked at on-road driving impairments in Huntington disease. The unexpected finding was that persons in the very early stages of Huntington disease were at risk of failing the road test. These individuals only recently showed visible signs of chorea and reported no decline in other functional activities.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Devos: The high failure rate on the road test and difficulties in all aspects of on-road driving suggest that monitoring of fitness to drive should be initiated in the early course of Huntington disease

Citation:

On-road driving impairments in Huntington disease

Neurology. 2014 Mar 18;82(11):956-62. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000000220. Epub 2014 Feb 12.

Devos H1, Nieuwboer A, Vandenberghe W, Tant M, De Weerdt W, Uc EY.