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J Intellect Disabil Res. 2004 Sep;48(Pt 6):611-20.

The modified CAMDEX informant interview is a valid and reliable tool for use in the diagnosis of dementia in adults with Down's syndrome.

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Section of Developmental Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, Douglas House, 18b Trumpington Road, Cambridge CB2 2AH, UK.



Dementia because of Alzheimer's disease (AD) commonly affects older adults with Down's syndrome (DS). Methods are needed, with established concurrent and predictive validity, to facilitate the diagnostic assessment of dementia, when it is complicated by pre-existing intellectual disabilities (ID). We report on the reliability and validity of a modified version of the Cambridge Examination for Mental Disorders of the Elderly (CAMDEX) informant interview, for use when assessing people with DS suspected as having dementia.


As part of a previous epidemiological study of older people with DS, the CAMDEX informant interview was used to determine the prevalence of dementia. The 74 people with DS included at that time (Time 1) had also completed the Cambridge Cognitive Examination (CAMCOG), the neuropsychological assessment from the CAMDEX schedule. Fifty-six were assessed again 6 years later (Time 2). Based on the CAMDEX informant interview, nine of the 74 at Time 1, and 11 of the 56 at Time 2, were found to meet clinical criteria for AD. Forty-one scored above floor on the CAMCOG at Time 1 and were included in the analysis of cognitive decline. Concurrent validity was established by comparing diagnosis at Time 2 with independent evidence of objective decline on cognitive tasks since Time 1. Predictive validity was established by examining how accurately diagnosis at Time 1 predicted both cognitive decline and future diagnosis. Inter-rater reliability was determined by comparing the level of agreement between two raters.


CAMDEX-based diagnosis of AD was shown to be consistent with objectively observed cognitive decline (good concurrent validity) and to be a good predictor of future diagnosis. Although numbers are small, some support is also provided for the accuracy with which diagnosis predicts cognitive decline. Inter-rater reliability was good with Kappa > 0.8 for 91% of items and > 0.6 for all items.


The use of the modified CAMDEX informant interview enables the structured collection of diagnostic information, so that a valid and a reliable diagnosis of dementia can be made in those with pre-existing ID, using established diagnostic criteria.

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