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J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2004 Jan;75(1):146-8.

Dementia associated mental and behavioural disturbances in elderly people in the community: findings from the first Nakayama study.

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Department of Neuropsychiatry, Ehime University School of Medicine, Ehime, Japan.



To determine the prevalence of mental and behavioural disturbances associated with dementia in elderly people living in the Japanese community of Nakayama.


A door to door three phase population survey was carried out on all persons aged 65 years and older living at home. The study included a psychiatric interview, neurological and neuropsychological examination, and cranial computed tomography. Participants with dementia were rated on the neuropsychiatric inventory.


Of 1438 inhabitants, 1162 (81.0%) completed the protocol. The prevalence of dementia was 4.8%. Of the 60 participants with dementia (Alzheimer's disease 35%, vascular dementia 47%, and dementia from other causes 17%), 53 (88.3%) had shown one or more mental and behavioural disturbances. Apathy/indifference (56.7%), followed by agitation/aggression (35%), aberrant motor behaviour (31.7%), and irritability (31.7%) were the common symptoms. More productive (positive) symptoms such as delusions and aberrant motor behaviour were found in the Alzheimer group than in the vascular dementia group.


A wide range of dementia associated mental and behavioural disturbances developed in the majority of community dwelling individuals with dementia. The findings suggest that a screening programme focusing on identifying these symptoms should be included in the physician's diagnostic tools for dementia.

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