Fundamental and therapeutic research in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) focused for a long time exclusively on cognitive aspects. However, AD also frequently involves complex disorders of affect and behavior, which are currently grouped under the heading ‘behavioral and psychological signs and symptoms of dementia’ (BPSSD). Several rating tools have been developed over the years on the basis of a variety of source data. Some are derived from psychiatric practise or have specifically been developed for dementia, such as the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI). In this study we prospectively used the NPI to examine BPSSD. Sixty-three French patients (mean age 74.7 years, SD 7.9) with a Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score higher than 10 were examined. BPPSD were detected by NPI in 95.2% of the patients. Anxiety was the most common abnormality (65.1%), followed by apathy and dysphoria (58.7%). The highest frequency × severity NPI score was observed for apathy. In order to identify the relationship between regional cerebral perfusion and apathy, 20 of these AD patients underwent a technetium-99m-bicisate SPECT protocol within the same week as the NPI evaluation. The mean age of this population was 74.4 years (SD 5.3) and the mean MMSE score was 21 (SD 4.1). The apathy NPI score was correlated with right cingulate deficit whereas the highest correlation for the MMSE was with the left temporoparietal area. This stresses the interest to focus on SPECT imaging of AD patients not only in the posterior areas.
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