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Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2001 Sep;16(9):886-91.

Frequency of behavioral symptoms characterizes agitation in Alzheimer's disease.

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Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study and Department of Neurosciences, University of California, San Diego 92093-0949, USA.


This study describes two well-characterized groups of Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients with similar levels of cognitive functioning, but with different overall behavioral disturbance levels. We sought to determine the nature of this difference-whether AD patients with higher levels of behavioral disturbance (n = 148) differ from less disturbed AD patients (n = 235) in terms of (a) the range of symptoms exhibited, (b) the frequency of occurrence of these symptoms, or (c) both of these. We defined and operationalized 'diversity of behaviors' and 'frequency' with respect to the item-level responses on the Cohen-Mansfield agitation inventory (CMAI). We found that, in these two samples of AD patients, differences occurred in the frequency of 10 out of 21 behaviors, rather than in a variety of endorsed behaviors. These 10 behaviors, observed at different frequencies in both groups, may be useful for monitoring change in studies of drugs or behavioral interventions for behavioral disturbance in persons with AD.

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