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Neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) often occur in patients with dementia. Understanding the course of NPS in dementia is important for healthcare professionals for psycho-educational purposes and adequate and timely interventions to prevent or diminish NPS as much as possible.
We conducted a systematic literature search in several electronic databases. We combined search strings for the terms dementia, community-dwelling, cohort studies and NPS. Screening titles and abstracts, assessing the methodological quality and data-extraction were independently conducted by at least two authors.
This literature search revealed 6605 unique records of which 23 studies were included in data synthesis. In total 7184 patients participated in the included studies with a mean number of 312. Sixty percent of the participants were female and the mean age of all participants was 74.8 years. Follow-up varied between 1 and 6 years; in 17 studies loss to follow-up was less than 20% per year. NPS are highly prevalent, incident and persistent although frequency parameters vary considerably across studies. Delusions/delusional misidentification, wandering/agitation, aberrant motor behavior/motor hyperactivity and apathy are the most common NPS. For hallucinations, delusions/delusional misidentification, paranoia, aggression, wandering/agitation, aberrant motor behavior/motor hyperactivity, disinhibition, apathy, and sleep disturbance increasing trends in point prevalence rates have been found.
NPS in community-dwelling patients are frequent and persistent. The increasing trends of several NPS in the course of dementia require a preventive approach of professional caretakers. For such an approach, a timely diagnosis and adequate professional support to prevent or diminish these problems is necessary.
Currently only about half of the people who have major depressive disorder are detected during regular health care. Screening in high-risk groups might be a possible solution.
To evaluate the effectiveness of selective screening for major depressive disorder in three high-risk groups in primary care: people with mental health problems, people with unexplained somatic complaints and people who frequently attend their general practitioner.
Prospective cohort study among 2005 people in high-risk groups in three health centres in The Netherlands.
Of the 2005 people identified, 1687 were invited for screening and of these 780 participated. Screening disclosed 71 people with major depressive disorder: 36 (50.7%) already received treatment, 14 (19.7%) refused treatment and 4 individuals did not show up for an appointment. As a final result of the screening, 17 individuals (1% of 1687) started treatment for major depressive disorder.
Screening for depression in high-risk populations does not seem to be effective, mainly because of the low rates of treatment initiation, even if treatment is freely and easily accessible.