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Am J Psychiatry. 1996 Nov;153(11):1438-43.

Longitudinal assessment of symptoms of depression, agitation, and psychosis in 181 patients with Alzheimer's disease.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA School of Medicine, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The goal of this study was to define the recurrence or continuation of neuropsychiatric symptoms in patients with Alzheimer's disease who were observed serially for a 1-year period.

METHOD:

One hundred eighty-one patients with probable Alzheimer's disease were assessed five times at 3-month intervals with a standardized neuropsychiatric rating instrument.

RESULTS:

Recurrence rates of neuropsychiatric symptoms during the 1-year period were 85% for depression, 93% for agitation, and 95% for psychosis. Symptom frequency at any point in time underestimated the cumulative 1-year frequency. Recurrence rates were significantly greater among patients who had multiple symptoms. Women exhibited more symptoms than men. Patients in the oldest age group (76-87 years) had more psychosis, less depression and agitation, and slower cognitive decline. Psychosis was associated with more rapid cognitive decline, and agitation was associated with more rapid functional deterioration.

CONCLUSIONS:

These results indicate that once psychiatric symptoms are present in patients with Alzheimer's disease, they frequently recur. These symptoms vary with age, sex, and rate of illness progression.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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