4th International Conference on Neurology and Brain Disorders

September 09-11, 2021

September 09 -11, 2021 | Virtual Event
INBC 2021

Maria V Soloveva

Speaker at Neurology and Brain Disorders 2021 - Maria V Soloveva
Monash University, Australia
Title : Brain structure and neurocognitive performance in very early premanifest Huntington’s Disease


During the premanifest stages of HD (pre-HD), pre-HD individuals show significant neurodegenerative anomalies. In pre-HD, structural brain changes are present many years prior to disease onset, and are known to contribute to motor, cognitive, and psychiatric impairments. What yet remains unknown, is how early in the disease process, structural brain changes can be detected. In this study, we recruited pre-HD individuals (n = 15; M = 37.33; SD = 10.82) who were very far from the predicted disease onset (~26 years) and n = 15 age- and gender-matched controls (M = 35.60; SD = 10.69) to examine whether there are any structural brain alterations in the pre-HD sample, relative to controls. Both groups underwent structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and completed a comprehensive battery of neurocognitive and psychosocial measures, including the Cognitive Reserve Index Questionnaire (CRIq), the International Physical Activity Questionnaire Long (IPAQ-L), the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), the WHO Quality of Life-BREF Questionnaire (WHOQOL-BREF), the Beck Depression Inventory- II (BDI-II), the Social Support Questionnaire (SSQ), as well as the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT) and the Montreal Cognitive Assessment Test (MoCA). An independent-t test revealed that pre-HD individuals exhibited statistically significant worsened cognitive reserve (pre-HD, M = 96.33, SD = 8.56; controls, M = 104.33, SD = 11.86), poorer processing speed performance (M = 55.20, SD = 12.60; controls, M = 64.47, SD = 11.07), as well as impaired cognitive function (pre-HD, M = 26.47, SD = 2.53; controls, M = 28.13, SD = 1.46) in comparison to controls. We performed whole-brain voxelwise statistical comparison of grey matter volume data between pre-HD individuals and controls, and found no significant differences in grey matter volume (controlled for TIV) between the groups. Further, and relative to controls, a region-of-interest analysis did not reveal any significant changes in the bilateral caudate and putamen. These data indicate that cognitive deterioration in the pre-HD sample is observed as early as 26 years prior to clinical diagnosis despite no evidence of brain atrophy. We suggest that other neurochemical and/or behavioural processes drive the progressive worsening of cognitive performance in pre-HD.


Dr Maria V. Soloveva received her PhD in Clinical and Cognitive Neuropsychology from the School of Psychological Sciences and Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health, Monash University, Australia, in 2019. Her work focuses on characterising compensatory brain processes using structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), as well as neurocognitive assessments to better understand the linkages between brain compensation and cognitive dysfunction in health (healthy ageing) and disease (Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease). Maria is interested in examining the role non- pharmacological (e.g., sleep quality, cognitive reserve, physical exercise, hormones) and online interventions play at inducing positive neuroplastic and behavioural responses, such as improved motor, cognitive and psychiatric functioning. Maria has published first author articles in neuroscience Q1 journals, has presented at ~ 10 peer-reviewed leading national and international conferences, and has secured local (Postgraduate Publication Award) and international (XXII World Congress on Parkinson’s Disease and Related Disorders Travel Award) awards, highlighting the leading contribution she has made to the field of psychology and clinical and cognitive neurosciences. Currently, Maria is a research supervisor (100% CI) for six Graduate Diploma of Psychology (Advanced) (Monash University) students in the area of Applied and Social Psychology, with the aim to disentangle the impact of COVID-19 messages on cognitive function and empathy in essential workers, as well as to identify the predictors of well-being in this cohort.