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Neurology. 2006 Feb 28;66(4):523-8.

Characterizing neuropsychiatric symptoms in subjects referred to dementia clinics.

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1
Department of Psychology, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To characterize the neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) of subjects classified as not cognitively impaired (NCI), cognitively impaired-not demented (CIND), and dementia.

METHODS:

A Canadian Cohort Study of Cognitive Impairment and Related Dementias (ACCORD) is a longitudinal investigation of individuals referred to eight Canadian dementia centers for evaluation of cognitive impairment and neurobehavioral symptoms. Of the inception cohort of 804 subjects for whom the informant-based Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI) was completed at study entry, 35 were classified as NCI, 193 as CIND, and 576 as dementia. The three diagnostic groups were compared on each of the 12 NPI items. Within each diagnostic group, comparisons were also made between symptomatic (NPS+; total score > 1) and asymptomatic (NPS-; total score = 0) subjects on measures of general cognitive status and functional disability. A subset of the NCI and CIND individuals were also compared on a comprehensive neuropsychological test battery.

RESULTS:

There was at least one NPI item reported in 60% of subjects with NCI, 74% with CIND, and 89% with dementia. The item scores for delusions, hallucinations, agitation, apathy, disinhibition, aberrant motor behavior, and problems with appetite were greater in dementia subjects than in NCI or CIND. There were no significant differences between subjects with NCI and CIND on any NPI item. For each diagnostic group, NPS+ subjects were more impaired on functional but not neuropsychological measures.

CONCLUSIONS:

Across all levels of cognition, neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) are an important feature in individuals referred to dementia clinics. The current data suggest that NPS may precede cognitive deficits in individuals classified as not cognitively impaired and cognitively impaired-not demented.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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