Psychiatric Symptoms in Adults With Down Syndrome and Alzheimer's Disease

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (Impact Factor: 2.08). 07/2010; 115(4):265-76. DOI: 10.1352/1944-7558-115.4.265
Source: PubMed


Changes in psychiatric symptoms related to specific stages of dementia were investigated in 224 adults 45 years of age or older with Down syndrome. Findings indicate that psychiatric symptoms are a prevalent feature of dementia in the population with Down syndrome and that clinical presentation is qualitatively similar to that seen in Alzheimer's disease within the general population. Psychiatric symptoms related to Alzheimer's disease vary by the type of behavior and stage of dementia, but do not seem to be influenced by sex or level of premorbid intellectual impairment. Some psychiatric symptoms may be early indicators of Alzheimer's disease and may appear prior to substantial changes in daily functioning. Improvements in understanding the progression of dementia in individuals with Down syndrome may lead to improved diagnosis and treatment.

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    • "wandering were most frequent in those with definite dementia (Urv et al., 2010). In agreement, Oliver, Kalsy, Mcquillan, and Hall (2011) demonstrated that behavioural excesses (pooled scores from eleven items) and deficits (pooled scores from seventeen items) were significantly more common in demented DS individuals (n ¼ 12) with regard to their number, frequency and management (Oliver et al., 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD) are a core symptom of dementia and are associated with suffering, earlier institutionalization and accelerated cognitive decline for patients and increased caregiver burden. Despite the extremely high risk for Down syndrome (DS) individuals to develop dementia due to Alzheimer's disease (AD), BPSD have not been comprehensively assessed in the DS population. Due to the great variety of DS cohorts, diagnostic methodologies, sub-optimal scales, covariates and outcome measures, it is questionable whether BPSD have always been accurately assessed. However, accurate recognition of BPSD may increase awareness and understanding of these behavioural aberrations, thus enabling adaptive caregiving and, importantly, allowing for therapeutic interventions. Particular BPSD can be observed (long) before clinical dementia diagnosis and could therefore serve as early indicators of those at risk, and provide a new, non-invasive way to monitor, or at least give an indication of, the complex progression to dementia in DS. Therefore, this review summarizes and evaluates the rather limited knowledge on BPSD in DS and highlights its importance and potential for daily clinical practice.
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    ABSTRACT: Depression has been frequently reported in individuals with Down Syndrome (DS). The aim of this article is to provide a comprehensive, critical review of the clinically relevant literature concerning depression in DS, with a focus on epidemiology, potential risk factors, diagnosis, course characteristics and treatment. We searched the PUBMED database (January 2011) using the keywords ("Depressive Disorder [MESH]" OR "Depression [MESH]" OR "depress* [All Fields]") AND ("Down Syndrome [MESH]" OR "Down syndrome [All Fields]" OR "Down's syndrome [All Fields]"). Review articles not adding new information, single case reports and papers focusing on subjects other than depression in DS were excluded. The PUBMED search resulted in 390 articles, of which 30 articles were finally included. Recent information does not support earlier suggestions of an increased prevalence of depression in DS compared to other causes of Intellectual Disability (ID). However, individuals with DS show many vulnerabilities and are exposed to high levels of stressors that could confer an increased risk for the development of depression. Apart from general risk factors, several potential risk factors are more specific for DS, including smaller hippocampal volumes, certain changes in neurotransmitter systems, deficits in language and working memory, attachment behaviours and frequently occurring somatic disorders. Protective factors might play a role in reducing the vulnerability to depression. The diagnosis of depression in DS is mainly based upon observable characteristics, and therefore, the use of modified diagnostic criteria is advised. Although several common treatments, including antidepressants, electroconvulsive therapy and psychotherapy seem effective, there is evidence of undertreatment of depression in DS. There are important limitations to our current clinical knowledge of depression in DS. Future studies should include systematic evaluations of pharmacotherapeutic and psychotherapeutic interventions.
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