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Apathy is a prominent neuropsychiatric feature of radiological white-matter changes in patients with dementia.

Journal article
Authors Michael Jonsson
Åke Edman
Karin Lind
Sindre Rolstad
Magnus Sjögren
Anders Wallin
Published in International journal of geriatric psychiatry
Volume 25
Issue 6
Pages 588-95
ISSN 1099-1166
Publication year 2010
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Pages 588-95
Language en
Subject categories Psychiatry


OBJECTIVE: Cerebral white-matter changes (WMCs) are frequently found in dementia and have been proposed to be related to vascular factors and a certain symptomatological profile. However, few studies have included both vascular factors and a broad spectrum of cognitive, neurological and psychiatric symptoms, easily detectable by the physician in the everyday clinical work. The objective was to study the relationships between WMCs on MRI/CT and neuropsychiatric symptoms and vascular factors in patients with cognitive impairment. METHODS: One hundred and seventy-six patients with Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, mixed dementia, and mild cognitive impairment were included. All patients underwent a standardized examination including medical history, clinical examinations, laboratory tests and brain imaging (CT or MRI). The identification and severity degree of WMCs was assessed blindly to clinical findings, using a semi-quantitative scale. For statistical analyses, patients were grouped based on absence or presence of WMCs. Significant variables in bivariate analyses were included as predictors in stepwise multiple logistic regression analyses. RESULTS: Bivariate analyses showed significant associations between WMCs and age, gender, blood pressure, hypertension, ischaemic heart disease and TIA/RIND. Furthermore, there were significant associations between WMCs and apathy, mental slowness, disinhibition, gait disturbance and focal neurologic symptoms. The multivariate logistic model revealed apathy, mental slowness and age as the most consistent predicting factors for WMCs, together with MRI as a radiological method for the detection of WMCs. CONCLUSIONS: The findings indicate that WMCs in patients with dementia are associated with a dysexecutive-related behavioural symptom profile, vascular factors related to small and large vessel diseases and age. Copyright (c) 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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