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J Psychiatr Res. 2017 Jul;90:12-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2016.12.024. Epub 2017 Feb 4.

Relations between personality changes and cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease pathology.

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Department of Psychiatry, Service of Old Age Psychiatry, Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV), Lausanne, Switzerland.
Institute of Psychology, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Service of Biomedicine, Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV), Lausanne, Switzerland.
Department of Psychiatry, Service of Old Age Psychiatry, Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV), Lausanne, Switzerland. Electronic address:


Specific changes in personality profiles may represent early non-cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Evaluating the subject's personality changes may add significant clinical information, as well as help to better understand the interaction between personality change, cognitive decline, and cerebral pathology. With this study we aimed to describe the relationship between personality changes and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) markers of AD pathology at early clinical stages of the disease. One hundred and ten subjects, of whom 66 cognitively impaired patients (57 with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and 9 with mild dementia) and 44 healthy controls, had neuropsychological examination as well as lumbar puncture to determine concentrations of CSF biomarkers of AD pathology (amyloid beta1-42 (Aβ1-42), phosphorylated tau (ptau-181), and total-tau (tau)). The Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R) was administered twice, once to evaluate subjects' current personality and once to assess personality traits retrospectively 5 years before evaluation. Subjects with an AD CSF biomarker profile showed significant increase in neuroticism and decrease in conscientiousness over time as compared to non-AD CSF biomarker group. In regression analysis controlling for global cognition as measured by the MMSE score, increasing neuroticism and decreasing extraversion, openness to experience and conscientiousness were associated with lower Aβ1-42 concentrations but not with tau and ptau-181 concentrations. Our findings suggest that early and specific changes in personality are associated with cerebral AD pathology. Concentrations of CSF biomarkers, additionally to severity of the cognitive impairment, significantly contribute in predicting specific personality changes.


Alzheimer's disease (AD); Cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers; Mild cognitive impairment (MCI); Personality changes; Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R)

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