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Long-term Course of Alzheimer Disease in Patients Treated According to the Dutch Dementia Guideline at a Memory Clinic

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There is little knowledge of the long-term course of Alzheimer disease (AD) in light of current pharmacological and nonpharmacological interventions provided in a “real-life” setting.


The Frisian Alzheimer’s Disease Cohort study is a “real-life” study of the course of AD in patients (n=576) treated with pharmacological (ie, cholinesterase inhibitors) and nonpharmacological (ie, case management, respite care) interventions. Disease course was described by changes in cognition (Mini Mental State Examination, clock-drawing test) and number of types of professional care applying a repeated-measures analysis using a marginal model (population-based average model). In addition, behavioral and psychological symptoms, and proportions of nursing home admissions and deaths were investigated.


During 3.5 years, the average Mini Mental State Examination decreased from 22.24 to 18.91, the clock-drawing test score increased from 3.38 to 4.05, the number of types of professional care increased from 0.85 to 2.64, and the patients with behavioral and psychological symptoms increased from 29.0% to 70.2%. The proportion of patients admitted to a nursing home was 40.8% and 41.0% died.


Cognition and behaviour of AD patients deteriorated accompanied with an increase in care-dependency during 3.5 years. Nevertheless, compared with the precholinesterase inhibitor era, current pharmacological and nonpharmacological interventions appear to slow cognitive decline, which emphasizes that they seem to have a favorable effect.
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Keywords: Alzheimer disease; cholinesterase inhibitors; community-dwelling; disease course; memory clinic; “real-life” setting

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Departments of Geriatric Medicine 2: Epidemiology, Medical Center Leeuwarden, Leeuwarden, Departments of Epidemiology 3: Neurology and Alzheimer Research Center, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands, ZNA and Laboratory of Neurochemistry and Behavior, Department of Neurology and Memory Clinic, Institute, Born-Bunge, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium

Publication date: January 1, 2016

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