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Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2000 Dec;54(6):611-20.

Neurobiological basis of behavioral and psychological symptoms in dementia of the Alzheimer type.

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Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Osaka University, Graduate School of Medicine, Japan.


Recent dementia studies indicate that behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) are not merely an epiphenomenon of cognitive impairment, but could be attributed to specific biological brain dysfunction. We describe findings from different research modalities related with BPSD (psychopathological, neuropsychological, neurochemical, and psychophysiological strategies), and attempt to reconcile them into the more integrated form. Characteristics of delusions in dementia patients should be studied in more detail from a psychopathological aspect, aiming for the integration of psychopathology and neurobiology. Imperfect integration of memory function and cognitive function, assigned to the limbic systems and association areas, respectively, may result in BPSD. More intimate collaboration of psychopathological and neurobiological study would be fruitful to promote the research in psychological basis of BPSD. Neurochemical studies indicated that density of extracellular tangles and/or PHF-tau protein have relationships with delusion or misidentification. These changes in neurochemical parameters should be the key to understanding the pathogenesis of BPSD. More importantly, neurochemical and psychological study could be linked by the research in psychophysiology. Computer-assisted electroencephalogram analysis suggests that the right posterior hemisphere shows significant age-associated change earlier than the left in the elderly. Cerebral metabolic rate by positron emission tomography study indicates that paralimbic, left medial temporal, and left medial occipital area are involved in pathogenesis of BPSD in some dementia patients.

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