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Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) are very prevalent among individuals with dementia living in residential aged care. The development and implementation of new non-pharmacological interventions to reduce BPSD requires knowledge on the current perception and clinical practice of the care staff. We analyzed clinical care notes to examine the way residential aged care staff reported and managed BPSD in their daily clinical practice.
We examined semi-structured care notes relating to the presentation and management of behaviors of 76 older residents (67% female; aged 67-101; 75% with formal dementia diagnosis) prior to participating in the Australian BPSDPLUS Program. As part of standard clinical practice in three residential aged care facilities, staff document the presentation and management of behaviors amongst residents. Using an inductive thematic analytical approach, we analyzed the reported data in the one and a half months prior to commencing participation in the BPSDPLUS Program. Care notes were coded and analyzed by two independent assessors and they discussed themes until consensus was reached.
A total of 465 behavior charts were completed in the one and a half months prior to the commencement of the BPSDPLUS Program. The number of behavioral charts varied widely across residents (Mean=7.3, range 0–93). Behaviors such as refusal of care, repetitive verbal behaviors, and wandering were most often mentioned, while apathy and affective and psychotic symptoms were seldomly reported. When confronted with BPSD, the clinical care notes indicated that care staff tend to respond in a reactive manner by reassuring, redirecting, or distracting the resident. Furthermore, it seems that staff did not routinely investigate potential underlying causes of the BPSD.
These results suggest that the residential care staff primarily detected and responded to externalizing behaviors, while more internalizing behaviors were not reported. Potential underrecognition of internalizing behaviors, as well as the fact that the staff did not routinely examine causes of BPSD are vital observations for the development and implementation of nonpharmacological interventions and care programs targeting BPSD in residential aged care.
Behavioral and psychological symptoms in dementia (BPSD) have great impact on the daily lives of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients and their caregivers. Timely recognition and treatment of these symptoms may benefit quality of life, caregiver burden, and delay disease progression. In this qualitative study we examine the experiences of memory clinic physicians with the recognition and management of BPSD in early stages of AD.
Semi-structured interviews were held with 8 physicians (5 neurologists, 3 geriatricians) employed at memory clinics of academic or general hospitals in the Netherlands. Two independent researchers coded verbatim transcripts of the interviews, followed by a consensus meeting on preliminary themes. In the upcoming months, additional interviews will be conducted until data saturation is reached.
Preliminary results indicate substantial variability in how memory clinic physicians recognize and diagnose BPSD in AD. Themes are: 1. Prevalence of BPSD in early stages of AD; e.g. ‘BPSD is more often present in late stages of AD […]’ vs. ‘I see this often, very often, I think these are the main problems people with AD face’). 2. Systematic assessment; some physicians consider it part of their clinical work-up to assess behavioral changes while other physicians do not touch upon BPSD. 3. Barriers for assessment; e.g. a lack of time, and not being able to observe BPSD occurring at home in a memory clinic setting. Treatment and management of BPSD in AD also differed greatly. Themes are 1. Treatment type; Two physicians discussed using a person-centered non-pharmacological approach, others refer patients with BPSD to daycare, a case manager or psychiatrist, or treat ‘problematic’ behaviors with psychotropic drugs. 2. Capabilities; some physicians experience managing BPSD in AD as very difficult, while others are confident about their capabilities. The majority suggests that collaboration with GPs or case managers may benefit treating these complex symptoms.
There are remarkable differences in the recognition and management of BPSD in patients with AD visiting memory clinics in the Netherlands. Considering the potential benefit of early recognition and treatment, a first crucial step is discussing standardization of recognition and management of BPSD in memory clinics.
Neuropsychological tests are important instruments to determine a cognitive profile, giving insight into the etiology of dementia; however, these tests cannot readily be used in culturally diverse, low-educated populations, due to their dependence upon (Western) culture, education, and literacy. In this review we aim to give an overview of studies investigating domain-specific cognitive tests used to assess dementia in non-Western, low-educated populations. The second aim was to examine the quality of these studies and of the adaptations for culturally, linguistically, and educationally diverse populations.
A systematic review was performed using six databases, without restrictions on the year or language of publication.
Forty-four studies were included, stemming mainly from Brazil, Hong Kong, Korea, and considering Hispanics/Latinos residing in the USA. Most studies focused on Alzheimer’s disease (n = 17) or unspecified dementia (n = 16). Memory (n = 18) was studied most often, using 14 different tests. The traditional Western tests in the domains of attention (n = 8) and construction (n = 15), were unsuitable for low-educated patients. There was little variety in instruments measuring executive functioning (two tests, n = 13), and language (n = 12, of which 10 were naming tests). Many studies did not report a thorough adaptation procedure (n = 39) or blinding procedures (n = 29).
Various formats of memory tests seem suitable for low-educated, non-Western populations. Promising tasks in other cognitive domains are the Stick Design Test, Five Digit Test, and verbal fluency test. Further research is needed regarding cross-cultural instruments measuring executive functioning and language in low-educated people.
Objectives: A meta-analysis of the extent, nature and pattern of memory performance in behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD). Multiple observational studies have challenged the relative sparing of memory in bvFTD as stated in the current diagnostic criteria. Methods: We performed a meta-analytic review covering the period 1967 to February 2017 of case-control studies on episodic memory in bvFTD versus control participants (16 studies, 383 patients, 603 control participants), and patients with bvFTD versus those with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) (20 studies, 452 bvFTD, 874 AD). Differences between both verbal and non-verbal working memory, episodic memory learning and recall, and recognition memory were examined. Data were extracted from the papers and combined into a common metric measure of effect, Hedges’ d. Results: Patients with bvFTD show large deficits in memory performance compared to controls (Hedges’ d –1.10; 95% confidence interval [CI] [–1.23, –0.95]), but perform significantly better than patients with AD (Hedges’ d 0.85; 95% CI [0.69, 1.03]). Learning and recall tests differentiate best between patients with bvFTD and AD (p<.01). There is 37–62% overlap in test scores between the two groups. Conclusions: This study points to memory disorders in patients with bvFTD, with performance at an intermediate level between controls and patients with AD. This indicates that, instead of being an exclusion criterion for bvFTD diagnosis, memory deficits should be regarded as a potential integral part of the clinical spectrum. (JINS, 2018, 24, 593–605)
Objectives: In complex real life situations, memories for temporal and spatial information are naturally linked since sequential events coincide in time and space. Whether this connection is inseparable or instead whether these processes are functionally dissociable was investigated in this patient study. Methods: Spatial object-location and temporal order memory tasks were administered to 36 stroke patients and 44 healthy control participants. Results: On group level, patients with a stroke in the left hemisphere performed worse on temporal order memory, compared to the control participants. On individual level, using a multiple case-study approach, a clear pattern of dissociations was found between memory for temporal and for spatial features. Conclusions: These findings indicate that location and temporal order memory contain functionally separable processes. This adds to our understanding of how context information is processed in human memory. (JINS, 2017, 23, 421–430)
Prospective memory (PM) is the ability to remember to execute delayed intentions. Previous studies indicate that PM is impaired in persons with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia, but the extent, nature, and cognitive correlates are unclear. A meta-analytic review was, therefore, performed (literature search 1990 to July 2011) on case-control studies on PM in dementia (10 studies, 336 patients, 505 controls) and MCI (7 studies, 225 patients, 253 controls). Differences between event-based and time-based PM and between measures of prospective and retrospective memory were examined, as well as correlations with other cognitive functions. Results showed that patients with dementia or MCI exhibit large deficits in PM (Hedges’ d −1.62 [95% confidence interval −1.98 to −1.27; p < .0001] for dementia; −1.24 [−1.51 to −0.995; p < .0001] for MCI; difference dementia vs. MCI: QM = 1.94, p = .16). Impairments were comparable in size for event-based and time-based PM (p > .05), as well as for prospective and retrospective memory (p > .05). PM showed modest correlations with measures of retrospective memory (median r = 0.27) and executive functioning (median r = 0.30). PM appears a valid construct in neuropsychological assessment in patients with dementia or MCI, but more insight is needed in the optimal characteristics of PM tasks to be used in clinical practice. (JINS, 2012, 18, 1–11)
Impairments in executive functioning frequently occur after acquired brain damage, in psychiatric disorders, and in relation to aging. The Brixton Spatial Anticipation Test is a relatively new measure for assessing the ability to detect and follow a rule, an important aspect of executive functioning. To date, normative data on this task are limited, particularly concerning the elderly. This study presents age- and education-adjusted regression-based norms obtained in a group of healthy older participants (n = 283; mean age 67.4 ± 8.5 years). The applicability and validity of these norms were further examined in different groups of patients with stroke (n = 106), diabetes mellitus (n = 376), MCI/early dementia (n = 70), psychiatric disorders (n = 63), and Korsakoff’s syndrome (n = 41). The results showed that patients with Korsakoff’s syndrome, stroke, and psychiatric disorders performed significantly worse than healthy controls. Test-retest correlation (n = 83), learning effects, and correlations with other neuropsychological tests were also explored. Based on the present study, the Brixton test appears a useful addition to existing measures of executive functioning. Moreover, the test can be reliably applied in different groups of clinical patients. (JINS, 2009, 15, 695–703.)
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM2) is a common metabolic disorder. DM2 is
associated with cognitive impairments, and with depressive symptoms, which
occur in about one third of patients. In the current study we compared the
cognitive profile and psychological well-being of 119 patients with DM2
(mean age: 66 ± 6; mean duration: 9 ± 6 years) with 55 age
and education matched-control participants. Groups were compared on
cognitive performance in five major cognitive domains, psychological
wellbeing [assessed by Symptom Checklist (SCL)-90-R and the Beck
Depression Inventory (BDI-II)] and abnormalities on brain MRI. We
hypothesized an interrelationship between cognition, MRI abnormalities,
and psychological well-being. DM2 patients performed significantly worse
than controls on cognitive tasks, especially on tasks that required more
mental efficiency, although the differences were modest (effect sizes
Cohen d < .6). We speculate that DM2 patients have a
diminished ability to efficiently process unstructured information.
Patients with DM2 had significantly higher scores on the SCL-90-R
(p < .001) and on the BDI-II (p < .001) and worse
MRI ratings than controls, but psychological distress did not correlate
with cognition, MRI ratings or biomedical characteristics. Contrary to our
hypothesis, cognitive disturbances and psychological distress thus seem
independent symptoms of the same disease. (JINS, 2007,
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