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J Natl Med Assoc. 1994 Sep;86(9):697-702.

Psychiatric symptoms in dementia associated with stroke: a case-control analysis among predominantly African-American patients.

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  • 1Department of Neurological Sciences, Rush Medical College, Chicago, Illinois.


As part of a case-control study, the psychiatric symptoms and behavioral problems of 61 multi-infarct dementia (MID) cases and 86 multi-infarct controls without dementia were compared to determine the prevalence of psychiatric symptoms and to clarify psychiatric predictors of dementia associated with cerebral infarcts. Ninety-two percent of the cases and 85% of the controls were African American. Cases were generally older, less well educated, and had a greater number of strokes and more neurologic deficits than controls. The most frequent psychiatric symptoms as reported by caregivers of patients with MID were irritability (57.3%), apathy (44.4%), insomnia (43.6%), agitation (40.7%), impatience (37%), and emotional lability (28.3%). In multivariate analysis, apathy and irritability were independent predictors of dementia associated with cerebral infarcts unless tests of cognitive function were added to the model. Our findings suggest that psychiatric symptoms are common in African-American vascular dementia patients, and cognitive impairment may be associated with psychiatric symptoms, behavioral problems, and personality changes. As there is a paucity of information about the prevalence of psychiatric symptoms in African Americans with vascular dementia, additional studies are needed to validate these findings. A better understanding of psychiatric symptoms in vascular dementia could lead to improved diagnosis and treatment of this disorder.

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