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CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2013 Jun;12(4):525-8.

Sundowning syndrome: a possible marker of frailty in Alzheimer's disease?

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  • 1Department of Systems Medicine, General Hospital University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy.


The term "sundowning" describes a clinical phenomenon characterized by late afternoon exacerbation of behavioural symptoms in dementia. Beyond this clinical definition, the debate around this concept is not properly solved, because many authors define it in different ways, mentioning various hypothetical etiological explanations. It represents a concrete problem, which is difficult to manage for physicians and caregivers, and is probably linked to various biological, psychological and social aspects. As recently reported, the sundowning phenomenon is a predictor of faster cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease, and as such can represent a possible marker of frailty in this illness. This article presents an overview of the biological understanding and possible pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment of this condition.

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