Neuropsychiatric disturbance in Alzheimer's disease clusters into three groups: the Cache County Study

Department of Mental Hygiene, School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, USA
International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 2.87). 11/2001; 16(11):1043 - 1053. DOI: 10.1002/gps.448


We investigated the frequency and inter-relationship of neuropsychiatric disturbances in a population sample of persons suffering from Alzheimer's disease (AD).Method
Screening 5,092 elderly residents (90% of the population aged 65 and older) of Cache County, Utah, for dementia, we identified 198 persons with AD using a comprehensive neuropsychiatric examination protocol. This examination included the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI), a widely used measure of dementia-associated neuropsychiatric disturbances.ResultsOverall, 60% of individuals with AD reported one or more neuropsychiatric symptoms. A latent class analysis revealed that these participants could be classified into three groups (classes) based on their neuropsychiatric symptom profile. The largest class included cases with no neuropsychiatric symptoms (40%) or with a mono-symptomatic disturbance (19%). A second class (28%) exhibited a predominantly affective syndrome, while a third class (13%) had a psychotic syndrome.Conclusion
Data from this first US population-based study of AD-associated neuropsychiatric disturbances suggest that a significant majority of persons with AD suffer from one or more neuropsychiatric disturbance. Based on phenomenological study, the spectrum of neuropsychiatric symptoms in AD can be empirically classified into three groups: an affective syndrome, a psychotic syndrome and other neuropsychiatric disturbance. The biologic and predictive validity of this classification merits further investigation. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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    • "Similar patterns of variability within neuropsychiatric features may define behavioural AD subsyndromes [6] with consistent symptom-lesion correlates [7] and association with specific neurotransmitter dysfunction, such as dopamine [8]. Familial AD syndromes may also exist, resulting from highly penetrant but variably expressed mutations in key genes, such as presenilin (PSEN)-1, PSEN-2, and amyloid precursor protein [9]. "
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    ABSTRACT: With increasing knowledge of clinical in vivo biomarkers and the pathological intricacies of Alzheimer's disease (AD), nosology is evolving. Harmonized consensus criteria that emphasize prototypic illness continue to develop to achieve diagnostic clarity for treatment decisions and clinical trials. However, it is clear that AD is clinically heterogeneous in presentation and progression, demonstrating variable topographic distributions of atrophy and hypometabolism/hypoperfusion. AD furthermore often keeps company with other conditions that may further nuance clinical expression, such as synucleinopathy exacerbating executive and visuospatial dysfunction and vascular pathologies (particularly small vessel disease that is increasingly ubiquitous with human aging) accentuating frontal-dysexecutive symptomatology. That some of these atypical clinical patterns recur may imply the existence of distinct AD variants. For example, focal temporal lobe dysfunction is associated with a pure amnestic syndrome, very slow decline, with atrophy and neurofibrillary tangles limited largely to the medial temporal region including the entorhinal cortex. Left parietal atrophy and/or hypometabolism/hypoperfusion are associated with language symptoms, younger age of onset, and faster rate of decline - a potential 'language variant' of AD. Conversely, the same pattern but predominantly affecting the right parietal lobe is associated with a similar syndrome but with visuospatial symptoms replacing impaired language function. Finally, the extremely rare frontal variant is associated with executive dysfunction out of keeping with degree of memory decline and may have prominent behavioural symptoms. Genotypic differences may underlie some of these subtypes; for example, absence of apolipoprotein E e4 is often associated with atypicality in younger onset AD. Understanding the mechanisms behind this variability merits further investigation, informed by recent advances in imaging techniques, biomarker assays, and quantitative pathological methods, in conjunction with standardized clinical, functional, neuropsychological and neurobehavioral evaluations. Such an understanding is needed to facilitate 'personalized AD medicine', and eventually allow for clinical trials targeting specific AD subtypes. Although the focus legitimately remains on prototypic illness, continuing efforts to develop disease-modifying therapies should not exclude the rarer AD subtypes and common comorbid presentations, as is currently often the case. Only by treating them as well can we address the full burden of this devastating dementia syndrome.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2013 · Alzheimer's Research and Therapy
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    • "The findings of the present study suggest that psychotic AD subjects who experience hallucinations and delusions may comprise a genetic category that is distinct from those subjects who experience delusions exclusively. These results are partially supported by several studies that have previously looked at the possibility of subphenotypes within the broader category of AD+P [16,18]. In order to analyze this possible distinction, we classified subjects into two non-overlapping groups in this study so that each individual patient belonged to only one group: given that nearly all of the subjects who experienced hallucinations also experienced delusions, one of those groups included subjects who experienced both delusions and hallucinations (D+H) and the other included subjects who experienced D alone. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Neuropsychiatric symptoms such as psychosis are prevalent in patients with probable Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and are associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Because these disabling symptoms are generally not well tolerated by caregivers, patients with these symptoms tend to be institutionalized earlier than patients without them. The identification of protective and risk factors for neuropsychiatric symptoms in AD would facilitate the development of more specific treatments for these symptoms and thereby decrease morbidity and mortality in AD. The E4 allele of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene is a well-documented risk factor for the development of AD. However, genetic association studies of the APOE 4 allele and BPS in AD have produced conflicting findings. Methods This study investigates the association between APOE and neuropsychiatric symptoms in a large sample of clinically well-characterized subjects with probable AD (n=790) who were systematically evaluated using the Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer’s Disease (CERAD) Behavioral Rating Scale for Dementia (BRSD). Results Our study found that hallucinations were significantly more likely to occur in subjects with no APOΕ4 alleles than in subjects with two Ε4 alleles (15% of subjects and 5% of subjects, respectively; p=.0066), whereas there was no association between the occurrence of delusions, aberrant motor behavior, or agitation and the number of Ε4 alleles. However, 94% of the subjects with hallucinations also had delusions (D+H). Conclusion These findings suggest that in AD the Ε4 allele is differentially associated with D+H but not delusions alone. This is consistent with the hypothesis that distinct psychotic subphenotypes may be associated with the APOE allele.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2012 · Behavioral and Brain Functions
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    • "Notably, estrogen increases APP transport within the trans-Golgi network [173]. A large subset of patients with AD (60%–80%) have neuropsychiatric symptoms such as depression, agitation, and psychosis (behavioral and psychiatric symptoms of dementia, BPSD) [174, 175]. These disturbances are associated with worse prognosis, more rapid cognitive decline, higher costs of care, increased caregiver burden and earlier nursing home placement. "
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    ABSTRACT: The genetics of late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD) has taken impressive steps forwards in the last few years. To date, more than six-hundred genes have been linked to the disorder. However, only a minority of them are supported by a sufficient level of evidence. This review focused on such genes and analyzed shared biological pathways. Genetic markers were selected from a web-based collection (Alzgene). For each SNP in the database, it was possible to perform a meta-analysis. The quality of studies was assessed using criteria such as size of research samples, heterogeneity across studies, and protection from publication bias. This produced a list of 15 top-rated genes: APOE, CLU, PICALM, EXOC3L2, BIN1, CR1, SORL1, TNK1, IL8, LDLR, CST3, CHRNB2, SORCS1, TNF, and CCR2. A systematic analysis of gene ontology terms associated with each marker showed that most genes were implicated in cholesterol metabolism, intracellular transport of beta-amyloid precursor, and autophagy of damaged organelles. Moreover, the impact of these genes on complement cascade and cytokine production highlights the role of inflammatory response in AD pathogenesis. Gene-gene and gene-environment interactions are prominent issues in AD genetics, but they are not specifically featured in the Alzgene database.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2011 · International Journal of Alzheimer's Disease
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