COMMENTARY

What Precedes the Onset of Alzheimer Disease?

Alan R. Jacobs, MD

Disclosures

May 05, 2015

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This is the Medscape Neurology Minute. I am Dr Alan Jacobs. Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have published a case series studying behavioral changes that precede the onset of memory loss in early Alzheimer disease.[1] They analyzed data from 2416 people aged 50 years or older who underwent regular evaluations of cognitive functions and mental health over 7 years. All participants were cognitively normal at the start. Over the course of the study, 1218 people developed dementia. Four years into the study, 30% of these patients had developed depression. Only 15% of the patents who did not develop dementia within 4 years developed depression. The individuals who went on to develop dementia were 12 times more likely to have delusions in the first 4 years. The researchers caution that a better understanding of how these mood and behavioral changes are connected to Alzheimer disease will be needed before we can use these changes as pre-dementia markers. This has been the Medscape Neurology Minute. I'm Dr Alan Jacobs.

Abstract

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