Background: Several factors, such as dysphagia, an increased motor activity, increased metabolic rate and a hypermetabolic state have been discussed as contributing to weight loss even at the early stages of Huntington’s Disease (HD). Aim of this pilot study was to investigate gastric emptying as a possible reason for weight loss in HD.
Methods: 11 HD participants at early stages of the disease and matched controls were investigated by using the well-established and non-invasive 13C-octanoate breath test. The “Gastroparesis Cardinal Symptom Index” and the “Short-Form Leeds Dyspepsia Questionnaire” were used for clinical evaluation of gastroparesis or dyspepsia.
Results: When compared to standard values given in literature and controls all HD patients had normal breath test results. There was no evidence of gastroparesis or dyspepsia. There was a correlation of breath test results with the cognitive and functional performance of HD participants.
Conclusion: According to our data, there is no evidence of impaired gastric emptying in early HD. We can not exclude that gastric emptying contributes to weight loss at more advanced stages of the disease.
Corresponding author: PD Dr. med. Carsten Saft, Department of Neurology, Huntington-Center NRW, St. Josef Hospital, Gudrunstrasse 56, 44791 Bochum, Germany, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
§ Carsten Saft and Jürgen Andrich contributed equally to this work