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Am J Psychiatry. 1999 Jul;156(7):1039-45.

Psychiatric morbidity in dementia with Lewy bodies: a prospective clinical and neuropathological comparative study with Alzheimer's disease.

Author information

1
Medical Research Council Neurochemical Pathology Unit, Newcastle General Hospital, U.K. m.p.walker@ncl.ac.uk

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The literature reports considerable variation in the rates of psychiatric morbidity for patients with dementia with Lewy bodies. The authors intended to clarify the frequency of psychiatric morbidity in dementia with Lewy bodies and how it differs from probable Alzheimer's disease.

METHOD:

The study incorporated two groups--a clinical case register cohort (98 with dementia with Lewy bodies; 92 with Alzheimer's disease) and 80 (40 with dementia with Lewy bodies: 40 with Alzheimer's disease) prospectively studied, neuropathologically confirmed cases. Diagnoses were made by using the McKeith et al. consensus criteria for dementia with Lewy bodies and the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke and the Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association criteria for Alzheimer's disease. Neuropathological diagnoses were made by using the consensus criteria for dementia with Lewy bodies and the Mirra et al. protocol for Alzheimer's disease.

RESULTS:

The occurrence of psychiatric symptoms was reported over 1 month. Hallucinations, depression, delusions, and delusional misidentification were all significantly higher for patients with dementia with Lewy bodies. The differences in frequency between dementia with Lewy bodies and Alzheimer's disease for auditory and visual hallucinations were especially pronounced for patients with mild cognitive impairment. The presence of psychiatric symptoms at presentation was a better discriminator between dementia with Lewy bodies and Alzheimer's disease than occurrence over the course of dementia.

CONCLUSIONS:

Delusional misidentification and hallucinations in the early stages of dementia may improve differentiation between patients with dementia with Lewy bodies and those with Alzheimer's disease and have important treatment implications.

PMID:
10401449
DOI:
10.1176/ajp.156.7.1039
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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