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This monograph summarizes the proceedings of a roundtable meeting convened to discuss pseudobulbar affect (PBA). Two didactic lectures were presented, followed by a moderated discussion among 11 participants. Post-meeting manuscript development synthesized didactic- and discussion-based content and incorporated additional material from the neuroscience literature. A conceptual framework with which to distinguish between disorders of mood and affect is presented first, and disorders of affect regulation are then reviewed briefly. A detailed description of the most common of these disorders, PBA, is the focus of the remainder of the monograph. The prevalence, putative neuranatomic and neurochemical bases of PBA are reviewed, and current and emerging methods of evaluation and treatment of persons with PBA are discussed. The material presented in this monograph will help clinicians better recognize, diagnose, and treat PBA, and will form a foundation for understanding and interpreting future studies of this condition.
Historically, drugs that increase central cholinergic transmission have primarily been investigated for relieving cognitive symptoms in mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease. These efforts have led to the somewhat unexpected findings that cholinergic therapy has a beneficial effect on selected neuropsychiatric symptoms in AD across disease stages. In Parkinson's disease with dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies, cholinergic deficits are more severe than in AD, and there is emerging evidence that cholinesterase inhibitors are efficacious in treating core symptoms of attentional disturbance and psychosis. Recent data also suggest a rational basis for cholinergic therapy in vascular dementia. The cognitive and neuropsychiatric effects of cholinergic therapy observed in AD and other dementias form the crux of an integrative model of cholinergic therapeutic efficacy that encompasses the diverse central nervous system actions of acetylcholine and its complementary interactions with central monoamine transmitters. This heuristic framework highlights the broader therapeutic potential of cholinergic therapy for symptom-based indications in other neuropsychiatric disorders.
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive condition characterized by a loss of cognition, altered behavior, and a loss of functional ability, such as bathing, dressing, toileting, and organizing finances. Family and friends provide nearly three quarters of all care for patients with Alzheimer's disease. This informal care results in significant burden to caregivers. Caregiver burden is the set of physical, psychological or emotional, social, and financial problems that family members may experience when caring for impaired older adults. Caregivers of Alzheimer's disease patients report higher rates of physical symptoms, mortality, depression, and fatigue, as well as adverse effects on employment compared with those who are not caregivers for Alzheimer's disease patients. In many cases, the same family members are responsible for both out-of-pocket expenditures and caregiving duties. For this article, a MEDLINE search using the key words “caregiver and Alzheimer's disease” and “cost and Alzheimer's disease” was performed. The purpose of this article is to review the literature on caregiver burden, the components of caregiver burden, effects of caregiving on the health of caregivers, the cost of Alzheimer's disease on the caregiver and society, and the benefits attainable with treatment.
This chapter presents an overview and practical approach to conceptualize manifestations of cerebellar lesions and outlines the principles that govern the cerebellar contribution to cognition and emotion as well as to sensorimotor function. Lesions of the cerebellum have been regarded as producing motor impairments. The cerebellar motor syndrome is characterized by wide-based and unsteady, or ataxic, gait; incoordination, or dysmetria, of the arms and legs; articulation impairment, or dysarthria; and eye movement abnormalities that disturb vision. The cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome (CCAS) results from lesions of the posterior lobe, characterized by clinically relevant deficits in executive function, visual spatial performance, linguistic processing, and dysregulation of affect. The connections of the cerebellum with brain circuits are implicated in psychiatric illness. Applying repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to the limbic cerebellum in the vermis improves psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia by upregulating cerebellar modulation of cerebrocerebellar circuits engaged in cognition and emotion.
The earliest cognitive deficits observed in amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) appear to center on memory tasks that require relational memory (RM), the ability to link or integrate unrelated pieces of information. RM impairments in aMCI likely reflect neural changes in the medial temporal lobe (MTL) and posterior parietal cortex (PPC). We tested the hypothesis that individuals with aMCI, as compared to cognitively normal (CN) controls, would recruit neural regions outside of the MTL and PPC to support relational memory. To this end, we directly compared the neural underpinnings of successful relational retrieval in aMCI and CN groups, using event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), holding constant the stimuli and encoding task. The fMRI data showed that the CN, compared to the aMCI, group activated left precuneus, left angular gyrus, right posterior cingulate, and right parahippocampal cortex during relational retrieval, while the aMCI group, relative to the CN group, activated superior temporal gyrus and supramarginal gyrus for this comparison. Such findings indicate an early shift in the functional neural architecture of relational retrieval in aMCI, and may prove useful in future studies aimed at capitalizing on functionally intact neural regions as targets for treatment and slowing of the disease course. (JINS, 2012, 18, 1–12)
Psychotic symptoms in Alzheimer's disease (AD) have been associated with increased rates of cognitive impairment and functional decline. Prior studies have been conflicting with regard to whether AD patients with psychosis (AD+P) have evidence of more severe neuropathologic findings at postmortem exam. We examined the severity of neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in six brain regions—middle frontal cortex, hippocampus, inferior parietal cortex, superior temporal cortex, occipital cortex, and transentorhinal cortex—in 24 AD+P subjects and 25 matched AD subjects without psychosis (AD-P). All analyses controlled for the presence of cortical Lewy bodies, and corrected for multiple comparisons. We found no significant associations between neuritic plaque and neurofibrillary tangle severity and AD+P, and no significant associations with any individual psychotic symptom. The association of AD+P with a more rapidly progressive course of AD appears to be mediated by a neuropathologic process other than increased severity of plaque and tangle formation.
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