Objectives: Behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) are potent predictors of carer distress and admission to institutional care. In Alzheimer’s disease (AD), depressive symptoms are one of the most common complaints affecting around 50% of all patients. There is speculation these symptoms result from known genetic risk factors for AD, therefore we investigated the role of apolipoprotein E ε4 in the aetiology of depression in AD. Methods: In this well-characterised cohort (n = 404) from the relatively genetically homogeneous Northern Ireland population, we tested the hypothesis that genetic variants of apolipoprotein E influence the risk for depressive symptoms in AD patients using the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI-D) to determine the presence of depressive symptoms during the dementing illness. Results: A total of 55% of patients exhibited a history of depression/dysphoria during the course of the illness as gathered by the NPI-D questionnaire. Forty-six percent were suffering from depression/dysphoria when the analysis was restricted to the month prior to interview. No statistically significant association between genotypes or alleles of apolipoprotein E and depression/dysphoria in AD was observed, nor was any association noted between the presence of severe symptoms and genotypes/alleles of apolipoprotein E. Conclusions: These results suggest apolipoprotein E genotype creates no additional risk for depressive symptoms in AD.
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