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Early behavioral symptoms and course of Alzheimer's disease

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Weiner MF, Hynan LS, Bret ME, White C. Early behavioral symptoms and course of Alzheimer's disease.

Acta Psychiatr Scand 2005: 1–5. ┬ęBlackwell Munksgaard 2005. Objective: 

To determine if behavioral symptoms detected at initial evaluation relate to cognitive or functional status or survival time in Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients. Method: 

Review, in 100 cases of autopsy-proven AD, of the relationship of behavioral symptoms detected at initial evaluation to cognitive and global function measures and survival time. Results: 

Behavioral symptoms had occurred in 74% of patients, including apathy (51%), hallucinations (25%), delusions (20%) and depressed mood (6.6%). Verbal aggression was common (36.8%); physical aggression less so (17%). The symptomatic group was more functionally (but not cognitively) impaired and had shorter median survival time (8 years: 95% CI: 7–9 years vs. 10 years: 95% CI: 8–12 years; P = 0.002) than the asymptomatic group. The presence of any one symptom at initial evaluation accounted for 6.1% of the variance in duration of illness. Conclusion: 

Presence of behavioral symptoms at initial evaluation of AD patients is associated with greater functional impairment and shorter survival time.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; behavioral symptoms; function; survival

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychiatry 2: Department of Pathology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Dallas, TX, USA

Publication date: May 1, 2005

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