Cognitive research application for Huntington's disease
Document typeMaster thesis
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Huntington's disease is an inherited neurodegenerative disorder caused by the gradual degeneration of parts of the basal ganglia called the caudate nucleus and putamen, which are responsible for the facilitation and coordination of movements. Huntington's disease is characterized by unequal and uncoordinated movements. In addition, people with Huntington's disease have impaired mental function, including self-control and memory. Most individuals with this disease have chorea that initially progresses but then, with the later onset of dystonia and rigidity, becomes less prominent. Although chorea is a useful marker in determining the diagnosis, it is a poor marker of disease severity, as patients with early-onset Huntington's disease may not develop chorea, or it may arise only transiently during their illness. Recent studies have determined that there are significant changes in the volume of the whole brain, long before symptoms are evident, causing different cognitive disorders, such as impairment in oculomotor tasks. The implementation of software as a medical evaluation tool has been of great help to understand the role of some specific brain functions in different neurodegenerative disorders; however, for Huntington's disease existing cognitive software is not sensitive to the type of deficits that people with this disease present. Through this work we seek to provide a possible solution to this drawback, developing an application that can detect cognitive abnormalities associated with complex visual processing in people who are known to present the disease in the future but still have no symptoms, all this based on neurological studies such as neuroimaging and neurophysiology, which give us an idea of what are those cognitive processes that incipiently could begin to show damage many years before the disease manifests itself. This application was developed with the help of a doctor from Hospital Sant Pau, specialist in Huntington's disease, with whom the tasks to be developed were defined. In order to carry out this work we used the Unity2D platform for the creation of computer applications, where all the programming for the environment was done. In order to evaluate the functionality of the developed application, it was tested on 10 people who do not have the disease; thanks to the feedback from these tests and the data obtained, improvements were proposed for the developed application.
DegreeMÀSTER UNIVERSITARI EN NEUROENGINYERIA I REHABILITACIÓ (Pla 2020)