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To examine the interaction between structural brain volume measures derived from a clinical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and occurrence of neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) in outpatient memory clinic patients.
Clinical and neuroimaging data were collected from the medical records of outpatient memory clinic patients who were seen by neurologists, geriatric neuropsychiatrists, and geriatricians. MRI scan acquisition was carried out on a 3 T Siemens Verio scanner at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. Image analyses used an automated multi-label atlas fusion method with a geriatric atlas inventory to generate 193 anatomical regions from which volumes were measured. Regions of interest were generated a priori based on previous literature review of NPS in dementia. Regional volumes for agitation, apathy, and delusions were carried forward in a linear regression analysis.
Seventy-two patients had clinical and usable neuroimaging data that were analyzed and grouped by Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE). Neuropsychiatric Inventory Questionnaire (NPI-Q) agitation was inversely associated with rostral anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) bilaterally and left subcallosal ACC volumes in the moderate severity group. Delusions were positively associated with left ACC volumes in both severe and mild groups but inversely associated with the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) in the moderate subgroup.
Agitation, apathy, and delusions are associated with volumes of a priori selected brain regions using clinical data and clinically acquired MRI scans. The ACC is an anatomic region common to these symptoms, particularly agitation and delusions, which closely mirror the findings of research-quality studies and suggest its importance as a behavioral hub.
Hearing loss can impair effective communication between caregivers and individuals with cognitive impairment. However, hearing loss is not often measured or addressed in care plans for these individuals. The aim of this study is to measure the prevalence of hearing loss and the utilization of hearing aids in a sample of individuals with cognitive impairment in a tertiary care memory clinic.
A retrospective review of 133 charts of individuals >50 years who underwent hearing assessment at a tertiary care memory clinic over a 12-month period (June 2014–June 2015) was undertaken. Using descriptive statistics, the prevalence of hearing loss was determined and associations with demographic variables, relevant medical history, cognitive status, and hearing aid utilization were investigated.
Results indicate that hearing loss is highly prevalent among this sample of cognitively impaired older adults. Sixty percent of the sample had at least a mild hearing loss in the better hearing ear. Among variables examined, age, MMSE, and medical history of diabetes were strongly associated with hearing impairment. Hearing aid utilization increased in concordance with severity of hearing loss, from 9% to 54% of individuals with a mild or moderate/severe hearing loss, respectively.
Hearing loss is highly prevalent among older adults with cognitive impairment. Despite high prevalence of hearing loss, hearing aid utilization remains low. Our study highlights the importance of hearing evaluation and rehabilitation as part of the cognitive assessment and care management plan in this vulnerable population.
There are relatively small but observable changes in functional ability in those without Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia. The present study seeks to understand whether these individuals go on to develop MCI or dementia by assessing the association between baseline Functional Activities Questionnaire (FAQ) and conversion independent and after adjustment for cognitive tests.
The NACC database was used to conduct the analysis of which 7,625 participants were initially identified as having more than one visit and who were cognitively normal at their first visit. Cox proportional hazards were used to fit three models that controlled for executive and non-executive cognitive domains. A similar model was used to assess the effect of FAQ subcategories on conversion.
Of these individuals, 1,328 converted to either MCI or dementia by visit 10. Converters had a total visit 1 FAQ score significantly higher than non-converters indicating more functional impairment at baseline. After adjustment for cognitive tests, the association between visit 1 FAQ and subsequent conversion was not attenuated. Doing taxes, remembering dates, and traveling were individually identified as significant predictors of conversion.
The FAQ can be used as an indirect measure of functional ability and is associated with conversion to MCI or dementia. There is a selective and significant association between changes in financial ability and conversion that is in accordance with other research of financial capacity.
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