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Data on the relationship between behavioral disturbances in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and global clinical deterioration is still controversial. The purpose of this study was to explore potential correlations of neuropsychiatric syndromes with global clinical deterioration in patients with AD, with particular consideration on severity levels of dementia.
AD patients (n = 156) aged 76.7 years from Brazilian clinical centers were assessed to diagnose the five neuropsychiatric syndromes measured by the Neuropsychiatric Inventory-Clinician rating scale (NPI-C): psychosis, agitation, affective, apathy, and sleep. These syndromes were then analyzed for their correlation with the Global Deterioration Scale (GDS). To analyze the association of neuropsychiatric syndromes with the GDS, considering the total sample and patients grouped by dementia severity levels, we applied the coefficient of multiple correlation (Ryy), adjusted multiple linear regression, and the coefficient of determination (R2yx). We tested the significance of correlation coefficients using the Student t-test for simple correlations (a single independent variable) and analysis of variance (ANOVA) for multiple correlations. ANOVA was also used to compare means of demographic and some clinical variables at different levels of dementia.
For the total sample, apathy and agitation syndromes were most strongly correlated (0.74; 0.72, respectively) with clinical deterioration according to the GDS, followed by psychosis (0.59), affective (0.45), and sleep syndromes (0.34). Agitation significantly correlated with mild and moderate dementia (CDR 1: 0.45; and CDR 2: 0.69, respectively). At CDR 2, agitation and affective syndromes were most strongly correlated (0.69; 0.59, respectively) with clinical deterioration while at CDR 3, the apathy syndrome was most strongly correlated with clinical deterioration (0.52).
Agitation, apathy, and affective disorders were the syndromes most strongly correlated with global deterioration in AD patients, becoming more evident at severe stages of dementia.
Patients with dementia may be unable to describe their symptoms, and caregivers frequently suffer emotional burden that can interfere with judgment of the patient's behavior. The Neuropsychiatric Inventory-Clinician rating scale (NPI-C) was therefore developed as a comprehensive and versatile instrument to assess and accurately measure neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) in dementia, thereby using information from caregiver and patient interviews, and any other relevant available data. The present study is a follow-up to the original, cross-national NPI-C validation, evaluating the reliability and concurrent validity of the NPI-C in quantifying psychopathological symptoms in dementia in a large Brazilian cohort.
Two blinded raters evaluated 312 participants (156 patient-knowledgeable informant dyads) using the NPI-C for a total of 624 observations in five Brazilian centers. Inter-rater reliability was determined through intraclass correlation coefficients for the NPI-C domains and the traditional NPI. Convergent validity included correlations of specific domains of the NPI-C with the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), the Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Index (CMAI), the Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia (CSDD), and the Apathy Inventory (AI).
Inter-rater reliability was strong for all NPI-C domains. There were high correlations between NPI-C/delusions and BPRS, NPI-C/apathy-indifference with the AI, NPI-C/depression-dysphoria with the CSDD, NPI-C/agitation with the CMAI, and NPI-C/aggression with the CMAI. There was moderate correlation between the NPI-C/aberrant vocalizations and CMAI and the NPI-C/hallucinations with the BPRS.
The NPI-C is a comprehensive tool that provides accurate measurement of NPS in dementia with high concurrent validity and inter-rater reliability in the Brazilian setting. In addition to universal assessment, the NPI-C can be completed by individual domains.
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