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Attentional impairments are common in dementia with Lewy bodies and its prodromal stage of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) with Lewy bodies (MCI-LB). People with MCI may be capable of compensating for subtle attentional deficits in most circumstances, and so these may present as occasional lapses of attention. We aimed to assess the utility of a continuous performance task (CPT), which requires sustained attention for several minutes, for measuring attentional performance in MCI-LB in comparison to Alzheimer’s disease (MCI-AD), and any performance deficits which emerged with sustained effort.
We included longitudinal data on a CPT sustained attention task for 89 participants with MCI-LB or MCI-AD and 31 healthy controls, estimating ex-Gaussian response time parameters, omission and commission errors. Performance trajectories were estimated both cross-sectionally (intra-task progress from start to end) and longitudinally (change in performance over years).
While response times in successful trials were broadly similar, with slight slowing associated with clinical parkinsonism, those with MCI-LB made considerably more errors. Omission errors were more common throughout the task in MCI-LB than MCI-AD (OR 2.3, 95% CI: 1.1–4.7), while commission errors became more common after several minutes of sustained attention. Within MCI-LB, omission errors were more common in those with clinical parkinsonism (OR 1.9, 95% CI: 1.3–2.9) or cognitive fluctuations (OR 4.3, 95% CI: 2.2–8.8).
Sustained attention deficits in MCI-LB may emerge in the form of attentional lapses leading to omissions, and a breakdown in inhibitory control leading to commission errors.
Blood biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease (AD) may allow for the early detection of AD pathology in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) due to AD (MCI-AD) and as a co-pathology in MCI with Lewy bodies (MCI-LB). However not all cases of MCI-LB will feature AD pathology. Disease-general biomarkers of neurodegeneration, such as glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) or neurofilament light (NfL), may therefore provide a useful supplement to AD biomarkers. We aimed to compare the relative utility of plasma Aβ42/40, p-tau181, GFAP and NfL in differentiating MCI-AD and MCI-LB from cognitively healthy older adults, and from one another.
Plasma samples were analysed for 172 participants (31 healthy controls, 48 MCI-AD, 28 possible MCI-LB and 65 probable MCI-LB) at baseline, and a subset (n = 55) who provided repeated samples after ≥1 year. Samples were analysed with a Simoa 4-plex assay for Aβ42, Aβ40, GFAP and NfL, and incorporated previously-collected p-tau181 from this same cohort.
Probable MCI-LB had elevated GFAP (p < 0.001) and NfL (p = 0.012) relative to controls, but not significantly lower Aβ42/40 (p = 0.06). GFAP and p-tau181 were higher in MCI-AD than MCI-LB. GFAP discriminated all MCI subgroups, from controls (AUC of 0.75), but no plasma-based marker effectively differentiated MCI-AD from MCI-LB. NfL correlated with disease severity and increased with MCI progression over time (p = 0.011).
Markers of AD and astrocytosis/neurodegeneration are elevated in MCI-LB. GFAP offered similar utility to p-tau181 in distinguishing MCI overall, and its subgroups, from healthy controls.
A resurgence of research investigating the administration of psychedelic compounds alongside psychotherapy suggests that this treatment is a promising intervention for anxiety, depression, and existential distress in people with cancer. However, psychedelic treatment that induces a mind-altering experience potentially poses barriers to vulnerable cancer patients, and health-care practitioners may have concerns about referring their patients to trials investigating this approach. The aim of the current study was to investigate the perceptions of cancer health-care practitioners based in New Zealand and the USA related to psychedelic-assisted therapy.
This study utilized a cross-sectional survey of cancer health-care practitioners in New Zealand and the USA via convenience sampling to identify their perceptions about the concept of conducting psychedelic-assisted therapy with cancer patients.
Participants perceived that (1) psychedelic-assisted therapy has the potential to provide benefit for cancer patients, (2) research in this area across a variety of domains is important, (3) work should consider spiritual and indigenous perspectives of health, and (4) there was willingness to refer patients to trials in this area, especially patients with advanced disease who were no longer going through curative treatment. Participants in the USA had greater awareness of psychedelics than the New Zealand sample; however, New Zealand participants more strongly believed that spiritual/indigenous factors should be considered in psychedelic-assisted therapy.
Significance of results
Cancer health-care practitioners in our sample considered research investigating the potential for psychedelic-assisted therapies to be important and may be more open to studies that start in palliative and end-of-life contexts.
Impaired olfaction may be a biomarker for early Lewy body disease, but its value in mild cognitive impairment with Lewy bodies (MCI-LB) is unknown. We compared olfaction in MCI-LB with MCI due to Alzheimer’s disease (MCI-AD) and healthy older adults. We hypothesized that olfactory function would be worse in probable MCI-LB than in both MCI-AD and healthy comparison subjects (HC).
Cross-sectional study assessing olfaction using Sniffin’ Sticks 16 (SS-16) in MCI-LB, MCI-AD, and HC with longitudinal follow-up. Differences were adjusted for age, and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were used for discriminating MCI-LB from MCI-AD and HC.
Participants were recruited from Memory Services in the North East of England.
Thirty-eight probable MCI-LB, 33 MCI-AD, 19 possible MCI-LB, and 32HC.
Olfaction was assessed using SS-16 and a questionnaire.
Participants with probable MCI-LB had worse olfaction than both MCI-AD (age-adjusted mean difference (B) = 2.05, 95% CI: 0.62–3.49, p = 0.005) and HC (B = 3.96, 95% CI: 2.51–5.40, p < 0.001). The previously identified cutoff score for the SS-16 of ≤ 10 had 84% sensitivity for probable MCI-LB (95% CI: 69–94%), but 30% specificity versus MCI-AD. ROC analysis found a lower cutoff of ≤ 7 was better (63% sensitivity for MCI-LB, with 73% specificity vs MCI-AD and 97% vs HC). Asking about olfactory impairments was not useful in identifying them.
MCI-LB had worse olfaction than MCI-AD and normal aging. A lower cutoff score of ≤ 7 is required when using SS-16 in such patients. Olfactory testing may have value in identifying early LB disease in memory services.
Electroencephalographic (EEG) abnormalities are greater in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) with Lewy bodies (MCI-LB) than in MCI due to Alzheimer’s disease (MCI-AD) and may anticipate the onset of dementia. We aimed to assess whether quantitative EEG (qEEG) slowing would predict a higher annual hazard of dementia in MCI across these etiologies. MCI patients (n = 92) and healthy comparators (n = 31) provided qEEG recording and underwent longitudinal clinical and cognitive follow-up. Associations between qEEG slowing, measured by increased theta/alpha ratio, and clinical progression from MCI to dementia were estimated with a multistate transition model to account for death as a competing risk, while controlling for age, cognitive function, and etiology classified by an expert consensus panel.
Over a mean follow-up of 1.5 years (SD = 0.5), 14 cases of incident dementia and 5 deaths were observed. Increased theta/alpha ratio on qEEG was associated with increased annual hazard of dementia (hazard ratio = 1.84, 95% CI: 1.01–3.35). This extends previous findings that MCI-LB features early functional changes, showing that qEEG slowing may anticipate the onset of dementia in prospectively identified MCI.
This study aimed to investigate general factors associated with prognosis regardless of the type of treatment received, for adults with depression in primary care.
We searched Medline, Embase, PsycINFO and Cochrane Central (inception to 12/01/2020) for RCTs that included the most commonly used comprehensive measure of depressive and anxiety disorder symptoms and diagnoses, in primary care depression RCTs (the Revised Clinical Interview Schedule: CIS-R). Two-stage random-effects meta-analyses were conducted.
Twelve (n = 6024) of thirteen eligible studies (n = 6175) provided individual patient data. There was a 31% (95%CI: 25 to 37) difference in depressive symptoms at 3–4 months per standard deviation increase in baseline depressive symptoms. Four additional factors: the duration of anxiety; duration of depression; comorbid panic disorder; and a history of antidepressant treatment were also independently associated with poorer prognosis. There was evidence that the difference in prognosis when these factors were combined could be of clinical importance. Adding these variables improved the amount of variance explained in 3–4 month depressive symptoms from 16% using depressive symptom severity alone to 27%. Risk of bias (assessed with QUIPS) was low in all studies and quality (assessed with GRADE) was high. Sensitivity analyses did not alter our conclusions.
When adults seek treatment for depression clinicians should routinely assess for the duration of anxiety, duration of depression, comorbid panic disorder, and a history of antidepressant treatment alongside depressive symptom severity. This could provide clinicians and patients with useful and desired information to elucidate prognosis and aid the clinical management of depression.
Dopaminergic imaging is an established biomarker for dementia with Lewy bodies, but its diagnostic accuracy at the mild cognitive impairment (MCI) stage remains uncertain.
To provide robust prospective evidence of the diagnostic accuracy of dopaminergic imaging at the MCI stage to either support or refute its inclusion as a biomarker for the diagnosis of MCI with Lewy bodies.
We conducted a prospective diagnostic accuracy study of baseline dopaminergic imaging with [123I]N-ω-fluoropropyl-2β-carbomethoxy-3β-(4-iodophenyl)nortropane single-photon emission computerised tomography (123I-FP-CIT SPECT) in 144 patients with MCI. Images were rated as normal or abnormal by a panel of experts with access to striatal binding ratio results. Follow-up consensus diagnosis based on the presence of core features of Lewy body disease was used as the reference standard.
At latest assessment (mean 2 years) 61 patients had probable MCI with Lewy bodies, 26 possible MCI with Lewy bodies and 57 MCI due to Alzheimer's disease. The sensitivity of baseline FP-CIT visual rating for probable MCI with Lewy bodies was 66% (95% CI 52–77%), specificity 88% (76–95%) and accuracy 76% (68–84%), with positive likelihood ratio 5.3.
It is over five times as likely for an abnormal scan to be found in probable MCI with Lewy bodies than MCI due to Alzheimer's disease. Dopaminergic imaging appears to be useful at the MCI stage in cases where Lewy body disease is suspected clinically.
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) may gradually worsen to dementia, but often remains stable for extended periods of time. Little is known about the predictors of decline to help explain this variation. We aimed to explore whether this heterogeneous course of MCI may be predicted by the presence of Lewy body (LB) symptoms in a prospectively-recruited longitudinal cohort of MCI with Lewy bodies (MCI-LB) and Alzheimer's disease (MCI-AD).
A prospective cohort (n = 76) aged ⩾60 years underwent detailed assessment after recent MCI diagnosis, and were followed up annually with repeated neuropsychological testing and clinical review of cognitive status and LB symptoms. Latent class mixture modelling identified data-driven sub-groups with distinct trajectories of global cognitive function.
Three distinct trajectories were identified in the full cohort: slow/stable progression (46%), intermediate progressive decline (41%) and a small group with a much faster decline (13%). The presence of LB symptomology, and visual hallucinations in particular, predicted decline v. a stable cognitive trajectory. With time zeroed on study end (death, dementia or withdrawal) where available (n = 39), the same subgroups were identified. Adjustment for baseline functioning obscured the presence of any latent classes, suggesting that baseline function is an important parameter in prospective decline.
These results highlight some potential signals for impending decline in MCI; poorer baseline function and the presence of probable LB symptoms – particularly visual hallucinations. Identifying people with a rapid decline is important but our findings are preliminary given the modest cohort size.
To Investigate the peripheral inflammatory profile in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) from three subgroups – probable Lewy body disease (probable MCI-LB), possible Lewy body disease, and probable Alzheimer’s disease (probable MCI-AD) – as well as associations with clinical features.
Memory clinics and dementia services.
Patients were classified based on clinical symptoms as probable MCI-LB (n = 38), possible MCI-LB (n = 18), and probable MCI-AD (n = 21). Healthy comparison subjects were recruited (n = 20).
Ten cytokines were analyzed from plasma samples: interferon (IFN)-gamma, interleukin (IL)-1beta, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12p70, IL-13, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha. C-reactive protein levels were investigated.
There was a higher level of IL-10, IL-1beta, IL-2, and IL-4 in MCI groups compared to the healthy comparison group (p < 0.0085). In exploratory analyses to understand these findings, the MC-AD group lower IL-1beta (p = 0.04), IL-2 (p = 0.009), and IL-4 (p = 0.012) were associated with increasing duration of memory symptoms, and in the probable MCI-LB group, lower levels of IL-1beta were associated with worsening motor severity (p = 0.002). In the possible MCI-LB, longer duration of memory symptoms was associated with lower levels of IL-1beta (p = 0.003) and IL-4 (p = 0.026).
There is increased peripheral inflammation in patients with MCI compared to healthy comparison subjects regardless of the MCI subtype. These possible associations with clinical features are consistent with other work showing that inflammation is increased in early disease but require replication. Such findings have importance for timing of putative therapeutic strategies aimed at lowering inflammation.
The accurate clinical characterisation of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is becoming increasingly important. The aim of this study was to compare the neuropsychiatric symptoms and cognitive profile of MCI with Lewy bodies (MCI-LB) with Alzheimer's disease MCI (MCI-AD).
Participants were ⩾60 years old with MCI. Each had a thorough clinical and neuropsychological assessment and 2β-carbomethoxy-3β-(4-iodophenyl)-N-(3-fluoropropyl)-nortropane single photon emission computed tomography FP-CIT SPECT). MCI-LB was diagnosed if two or more diagnostic features of dementia with Lewy bodies were present (visual hallucinations, cognitive fluctuations, motor parkinsonism, rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder or positive FP-CIT SPECT). A Lewy body Neuropsychiatric Supportive Symptom Count (LBNSSC) was calculated based on the presence or absence of the supportive neuropsychiatric symptoms defined by the 2017 DLB diagnostic criteria: non-visual hallucinations, delusions, anxiety, depression and apathy.
MCI-LB (n = 41) had a higher LBNSSC than MCI-AD (n = 24; 1.8 ± 1.1 v. 0.7 ± 0.9, p = 0.001). 67% of MCI-LB had two or more of those symptoms, compared with 16% of MCI-AD (Likelihood ratio = 4.2, p < 0.001). MCI-LB subjects scored lower on tests of attention, visuospatial function and verbal fluency. However, cognitive test scores alone did not accurately differentiate MCI-LB from MCI-AD.
MCI-LB is associated with neuropsychiatric symptoms and a cognitive profile similar to established DLB. This supports the concept of identifying MCI-LB based on the presence of core diagnostic features of DLB and abnormal FP-CIT SPECT imaging. The presence of supportive neuropsychiatric clinical features identified in the 2017 DLB diagnostic criteria was helpful in differentiating between MCI-LB and MCI-AD.
The growing importance of involving volunteers and the wider community in research is well recognized. Participants are no longer mere “subjects” but are active partners in the research process, and for these engagements to be successful, effective communication is vital. Researchers are well practiced at disseminating their findings to the wider scientific community, but what are the gold standards when disclosing results, both individual and aggregate, to study participants? Shalowitz and Miller (2008a) emphasize the need to offer research results as an “appropriate and obligatory expression of respect for persons,” and the implications of receiving results have been widely examined (Shalowitz and Miller, 2008b; Fernandez et al., 2004). Despite the interest in this area, however, very few studies have looked at dementia research and how best to convey study information and results to participants so as to maximize their involvement and ownership of research. In an attempt to address this gap in the evidence base, we undertook an audit of the views concerning a study newsletter, which had been designed to provide some feedback to those volunteering for the research.
Visual hallucinations and visuoperceptual deficits are common in dementia
with Lewy bodies, suggesting that cortical visual function may be
To investigate: (1) cortical visual function using functional magnetic
resonance imaging (fMRI); and (2) the nature and severity of perfusion
deficits in visual areas using arterial spin labelling (ASL)-MRI.
In total, 17 participants with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB group) and
19 similarly aged controls were presented with simple visual stimuli
(checkerboard, moving dots, and objects) during fMRI and subsequently
underwent ASL-MRI (DLB group n = 15, control group
n = 19).
Functional activations were evident in visual areas in both the DLB and
control groups in response to checkerboard and objects stimuli but
reduced visual area V5/MT (middle temporal) activation occurred in the
DLB group in response to motion stimuli. Posterior cortical perfusion
deficits occurred in the DLB group, particularly in higher visual
Higher visual areas, particularly occipito-parietal, appear abnormal in
dementia with Lewy bodies, while there is a preservation of function in
lower visual areas (V1 and V2/3).
The aetiology of visual hallucinations is poorly understood in dementia with Lewy bodies. Pathological alterations in visual cortical excitability may be one contributory mechanism.
To determine visual cortical excitability in people with dementia with Lewy bodies compared with aged-matched controls and also the relationship between visual cortical excitability and visual hallucinations in dementia with Lewy bodies.
Visual cortical excitability was determined by using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) applied to the occiput to elicit phosphenes (transient subjective visual responses) in 21 patients with dementia with Lewy bodies and 19 age-matched controls.
Phosphene parameters were similar between both groups. However, in the patients with dementia with Lewy bodies, TMS measures of visual cortical excitability correlated strongly with the severity of visual hallucinations (P = 0.005). Six patients with dementia with Lewy bodies experienced visual hallucination-like phosphenes (for example, seeing people or figures on stimulation) compared with none of the controls (P = 0.02).
Increased visual cortical excitability in dementia with Lewy bodies does not appear to explain visual hallucinations but it may be a marker for their severity.
Previously known from two specimens, Kaempfer's Tody-tyrant Hemitriccus kaempferi is a globally threatened species endemic to the southern Brazil Atlantic Forest. The first field observations of this little-known taxon were made in the 1990s and our data therefore provide the first published information on its natural history, including breeding biology, behaviour and vocalizations, as well as a new locality. As very little information has appeared in the literature concerning the identification of this species, we present notes on its plumage and habits. Remarks concerning the species's conservation prospects and the importance of the remaining forest in the vicinity of the type-locality for other threatened bird species are made.
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