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      Neuropsychiatric Symptoms Are Associated with Progression from Mild Cognitive Impairment to Alzheimer’s Disease

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          Background: Neuropsychiatric disturbances are common in mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Depression and apathy may identify a subset of MCI subjects at higher risk of progression to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, it remains uncertain whether a broader spectrum of psychopathology is associated with progression to AD. Methods: Fifty-one MCI subjects were assessed for neuropsychiatric symptoms using the Neuropsychiatric Inventory. Subjects were followed for an average of 2 years. Twelve subjects (23.5%) progressed from MCI to possible/probable AD and 39 subjects (76.5%) remained stable or improved. Baseline Neuropsychiatric Inventory indices were compared between groups. Results: Subjects progressing to AD had a significantly higher prevalence of psychopathology than subjects who remained stable or improved (100 vs. 59%). Depression (67 vs. 31%) and apathy (50 vs. 18%) were more common in subjects who were later diagnosed with AD. After statistical adjustments for other baseline demographic variables, these specific symptoms were less robust predictors of progression to AD than the presence of any psychopathology. Conclusions: These findings suggest that neuropsychiatric symptoms in MCI are a predictor of progression to AD. Depression and apathy appear to be most useful for identifying MCI subjects at highest risk of developing dementia.

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          Vitamin E and donepezil for the treatment of mild cognitive impairment.

          Mild cognitive impairment is a transitional state between the cognitive changes of normal aging and early Alzheimer's disease. In a double-blind study, we evaluated subjects with the amnestic subtype of mild cognitive impairment. Subjects were randomly assigned to receive 2000 IU of vitamin E daily, 10 mg of donepezil daily, or placebo for three years. The primary outcome was clinically possible or probable Alzheimer's disease; secondary outcomes were cognition and function. A total of 769 subjects were enrolled, and possible or probable Alzheimer's disease developed in 212. The overall rate of progression from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer's disease was 16 percent per year. As compared with the placebo group, there were no significant differences in the probability of progression to Alzheimer's disease in the vitamin E group (hazard ratio, 1.02; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.74 to 1.41; P=0.91) or the donepezil group (hazard ratio, 0.80; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.57 to 1.13; P=0.42) during the three years of treatment. Prespecified analyses of the treatment effects at 6-month intervals showed that as compared with the placebo group, the donepezil group had a reduced likelihood of progression to Alzheimer's disease during the first 12 months of the study (P=0.04), a finding supported by the secondary outcome measures. Among carriers of one or more apolipoprotein E epsilon4 alleles, the benefit of donepezil was evident throughout the three-year follow-up. There were no significant differences in the rate of progression to Alzheimer's disease between the vitamin E and placebo groups at any point, either among all patients or among apolipoprotein E epsilon4 carriers. Vitamin E had no benefit in patients with mild cognitive impairment. Although donepezil therapy was associated with a lower rate of progression to Alzheimer's disease during the first 12 months of treatment, the rate of progression to Alzheimer's disease after three years was not lower among patients treated with donepezil than among those given placebo. Copyright 2005 Massachusetts Medical Society.
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            Normative data stratified by age and education for two measures of verbal fluency: FAS and animal naming.

            Normative data stratified by three levels of age (16-59, 60-79, and 80-95 years) and three levels of education (0-8, 9-12, and 13-21 years) are presented for phonemic verbal fluency (FAS) and categorical verbal fluency (Animal Naming). The normative sample, aged 16 to 95 years, consisted of 1,300 cognitively intact individuals who resided in the community. Years of education ranged from 0 to 21. The total number of words in 1 minute for each of the letters F, A, and S was correlated r =.52 with the number of animal names generated in 1 minute. Regression analyses showed that FAS was more sensitive to the effects of education (18.6% of the variance) than age (11.0% of the variance). The opposite relationship occurred for Animal Naming, where age accounted for 23.4% of the variance and education accounted only for 13.6%. Gender accounted for less than 1% of variance for FAS and Animal Naming. The clinical utility of these norms is discussed.
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              Neuropsychological prediction of conversion to Alzheimer disease in patients with mild cognitive impairment.

              The likelihood of conversion to Alzheimer disease (AD) in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and the "optimal" early markers of conversion need to be established. To evaluate conversion rates to AD in subtypes of MCI and to identify neuropsychological measures most predictive of the time to conversion. Patients were followed up semiannually and controls annually. Subtypes of MCI were determined by using demographically adjusted regression norms on neuropsychological tests. Survival analysis was used to identify the most predictive neuropsychological measures. Memory disorders clinic. One hundred forty-eight patients reporting memory problems and 63 group-matched controls. A consensus diagnosis of probable AD. At baseline, 108 patients met criteria for amnestic MCI: 87 had memory plus other cognitive domain deficits and 21 had pure memory deficits. The mean duration of follow-up for the 148 patients was 46.6 +/- 24.6 months. In 3 years, 32 (50.0%) of 64 amnestic-"plus" and 2 (10.0%) of 20 "pure" amnestic patients converted to AD (P = .001). In 148 patients, of 5 a priori predictors, the percent savings from immediate to delayed recall on the Selective Reminding Test and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised Digit Symbol Test were the strongest predictors of time to conversion. From the entire neuropsychological test battery, a stepwise selection procedure retained 2 measures in the final model: total immediate recall on the Selective Reminding Test (odds ratio per 1-point decrease, 1.10; 95% confidence interval, 1.05-1.14; P < .0001) and Digit Symbol Test coding (odds ratio, 1.06; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-1.11; P = .01). The combined predictive accuracy of these 2 measures for conversion by 3 years was 86%. Mild cognitively impaired patients with memory plus other cognitive domain deficits, rather than those with pure amnestic MCI, constituted the high-risk group. Deficits in verbal memory and psychomotor speed/executive function abilities strongly predicted conversion to AD.

                Author and article information

                Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord
                Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders
                S. Karger AG
                September 2007
                14 August 2007
                : 24
                : 4
                : 253-259
                Departments of aNeurology and bPsychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, Calif., USA
                107100 Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 2007;24:253–259
                © 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 2, References: 52, Pages: 7
                Original Research Article


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