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Abstract #1566

Drumming training induces myelin remodelling in Huntington’s disease: a diffusion MRI and quantitative magnetization transfer study

Chiara Casella1, Jose Bourbon-Teles1, Derek K Jones1, Greg Daniel Parker1, Sonya Bells2, Anne Rosser3, Elizabeth Coulthard4, and Claudia Metzler-Baddeley1
1Department of Psychology, Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre, Cardiff, United Kingdom, 2Department of Neurosciences and Mental Health, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada, 3Department of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom, 4Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom

Huntington’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder leading to debilitating cognitive and motor symptoms. It has been proposed that impaired myelination contributes to HD pathogenesis. As well, evidence shows that myelin formation underlies the learning of new motor skills. Here we demonstrate that two months of drumming and rhythm exercises result in an increase in a proxy MRI measure of myelin in patients with early HD relative to healthy controls. This suggests that tailored behavioural stimulation has the potential to result in neural benefits in early HD that could be exploited for future therapeutics aiming to delay disease progression.

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