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Despite the multitude of clinical manifestations of post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), studies applying statistical methods to directly investigate patterns of symptom co-occurrence and their biological correlates are scarce.
We assessed 30 symptoms pertaining to different organ systems in 749 adults (age = 55 ± 14 years; 47% female) during in-person visits conducted at 6–11 months after hospitalization due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), including six psychiatric and cognitive manifestations. Symptom co-occurrence was initially investigated using exploratory factor analysis (EFA), and latent variable modeling was then conducted using Item Response Theory (IRT). We investigated associations of latent variable severity with objective indices of persistent physical disability, pulmonary and kidney dysfunction, and C-reactive protein and D-dimer blood levels, measured at the same follow-up assessment.
The EFA extracted one factor, explaining 64.8% of variance; loadings were positive for all symptoms, and above 0.35 for 16 of them. The latent trait generated using IRT placed fatigue, psychiatric, and cognitive manifestations as the most discriminative symptoms (coefficients > 1.5, p < 0.001). Latent trait severity was associated with decreased body weight and poorer physical performance (coefficients > 0.240; p ⩽ 0.003), and elevated blood levels of C-reactive protein (coefficient = 0.378; 95% CI 0.215–0.541; p < 0.001) and D-dimer (coefficient = 0.412; 95% CI 0.123–0.702; p = 0.005). Results were similar after excluding subjects with pro-inflammatory comorbidities.
Different symptoms that persist for several months after moderate or severe COVID-19 may unite within one latent trait of PASC. This trait is dominated by fatigue and psychiatric symptoms, and is associated with objective signs of physical disability and persistent systemic inflammation.
Spatial disorientation is common in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), and preclinical individuals with AD biomarkers. However, traditional neuropsychological tests lack ecological validity for the assessment of spatial orientation and to date, there is still no gold standard. The current study aimed to determine the validity and accuracy of two virtual reality tasks for the assessment of spatial orientation.
We adapted two spatial orientation tasks to immersive virtual environments: a “survey to route” task in which participants had to transfer information from a map to their body position within a maze [Spatial Orientation in Immersive Virtual Environment Test (SOIVET) Maze], and an allocentric-type, route learning task, with well-established topographic landmarks (SOIVET Route). A total of 19 MCI patients and 29 cognitively healthy older adults aged 61–92 participated in this study. Regular neuropsychological assessments were used for correlation analysis and participant performances were compared between groups. Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was performed for accuracy.
The SOIVET Maze correlated with measures of visuoperception, mental rotation, and planning, and was not related to age, educational level, or technology use profile. The SOIVET Route immediate correlated with measures of mental rotation, memory, and visuoconstruction, and was influenced only by education. Both tasks significantly differentiated MCI and control groups, and demonstrated moderate accuracy for the MCI diagnosis.
Traditional neuropsychological assessment presents limitations and immersive environments allow for the reproduction of complex cognitive processes. The two immersive virtual reality tasks are valid tools for the assessment of spatial orientation and should be considered for cognitive assessments of older adults.
The patient is a 58-year-old-right-handed man, with 11 years of schooling. A retired bank manager, he presented in May 2011 with a 3-year history of progressive word-finding difficulties and phonological errors in spontaneous speech.
A 73-year-old right-handed man presented with a 1-year history of visual hallucinations. The hallucinations were described as the sight of intruders, about 20–30 people who were seen in his living-room and sometimes threaten him with their eyes. He frequently asked his wife about these people and how she could tolerate their presence. He also made complaints to the front door clerks about allowing these people to enter the building. Sometimes he saw children and animals running around the house. The hallucinations were vivid, well-formed and exclusively visual. He often had psychomotor agitation in response to the visions. Associated with the hallucinations, he began to present forgetfulness described as difficulties in word finding, decreased speed of thought, difficulty reasoning, occasional difficulties in understanding long sentences, and difficulty in learning new information. His relatives noted difficulties in recognition of objects through vision and intense fluctuation in the level of attention, with periods when the patient “stared at the walls” and periods of daytime drowsiness. He had an episode of topographical disorientation where he could not find his way back home. His clinical picture was described as slowly progressive.
Several cognitive tools have been developed aiming to diagnose dementia. The cognitive battery Addenbrooke's Cognitive Examination – Revised (ACE-R) has been used to detect cognitive impairment; however, there are few studies including samples with low education. The aim of the study was to provide ACE-R norms for seniors within a lower education, including illiterates. An additional aim was to examine the accuracy of the ACE-R to detect dementia and cognitive impairment no dementia (CIND).
Data originated from an epidemiological study conducted in the municipality of Tremembé, Brazil. The Brazilian version of ACE-R was applied as part of the cognitive assessment in all participants. Of the 630 participants, 385 were classified as cognitively normal (CN) and were included in the normative data set, 110 individuals were diagnosed with dementia, and 135 were classified as having CIND.
ACE-R norms were provided with the sample stratified into age and education bands. ACE-R total scores varied significantly according to age, education, and sex. To distinguish CN from dementia, a cut-off of 64 points was established (sensitivity 91%, specificity 76%) and to differentiate CN from CIND the best cut-off was 69 points (sensitivity 73%, specificity 65%). Cut-off scores varied according to the educational level.
This study offers normative and accuracy parameters for seniors with lower education and it should expand the use of the ACE-R for this population segment.
The aims of this study were (1) to describe and compare the performance of illiterate and low-educated older adults, without evidence of cognitive impairment, on different versions of the Boston Naming Test (BNT) original, Brazilian adapted, abbreviated 30-item (even and odd) and 15-item from the CERAD (Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's Disease) battery; (2) to compare performance on the original versus adapted versions of the BNT.
A total of 180 healthy older adults (60 years or older) were stratified according to educational level (0, 1–2, and 3–4 years), and age (60–69, 70–79, and ≥ 80 years). The protocol comprised the following instruments: Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Brief Cognitive Screening Battery (BCSB), Functional Activities Questionnaire (FAQ), Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), and the BNT.
The illiterate participants had poorer performance than the educated participants. The performance of the two educated groups was similar on all versions of the BNT. A higher number of correct responses were observed on the adapted BNT than on the original BNT in all three education groups.
The adapted BNT appears to be the most suitable for use in the low-educated Brazilian population. The present study provided normative data for low-educated elderly on several different versions of the BNT, which may be helpful in diagnosing naming deficits among elderly in these strata of the population.
Objectives: Depression and dementia are highly prevalent in the elderly. Language impairment is an inherent component of Alzheimer's disease (AD), which can also be encountered in depressed patients. The aim of this study wasto compare the profiles of language abilities in late-onset depression and mild AD groups.
Methods: We studied 25 patients with late-onset depression (mean age 73.6 ± 6.6 years; schooling 9.1 ± 5.7 years) and 30 patients with mild AD (77.6 ± 5.4 years; 7.5 ± 7.1 years) using the Arizona Battery for Communication Disorders of Dementia (ABCD), compared to a group of 30 controls (73.8 ± 5.8 years; 9.1 ± 5.4 years). Cut-off scores to discriminate between Controls × Depression and Depression × AD were determined.
Results: Depressed patients' scores were similar to AD in confrontation naming, concept definition, following commands, repetition and reading comprehension (sentence). Episodic memory and mental status subtests were useful in differentiating depressed patients from AD, a result that was reproduced when using analysis of covariance to control for the effect of age in the same subtests (p = 0.01 and 0.04, respectively).
Conclusion: Language impairment resembling AD was found in the aforementioned language subtests of the ABCD in elderly depressed patients; the mental status and episodic memory subtests were useful to discriminate between AD and depression. The ABCD has proven to be a suitable tool for language evaluation in this population and should aid in the differentiation of AD and pseudodementia (as that of depression).
General Practitioners (GPs) from underdeveloped countries apply cognitive impairment (CI) assessment tools translated and adapted to cultural setting from other idioms, mainly English. As schooling in elderly from underdeveloped countries tends to be relatively heterogeneous, it is necessary to establish normative and cut-off scores for these CI instruments that are based on studies conducted locally. Some CI screening instruments frequently used by Brazilian specialists in dementia were analyzed to determine which could be most useful to GPs in their working sets.
Two hundred forty-eight patients aged 65 years or older that had been assisted by GPs in a tertiary hospital in Brazil were evaluated. Based on the MMSE and/or Short-IQCODE scores, 52 probable cases were identified on the basis of clinical data, performances on the neuropsychological tests and questionnaires (Functional Assessment Questionnaire/FAQ, Category Verbal Fluency/CVF, Clock Drawing Test/CDT) and blood tests and brain CT.
The combination of a functional questionnaire with a cognitive instrument had higher sensitivity and specificity than using the instruments alone. A FAQ cut-off of 3 in conjunction with a CDT cut-off of 6 proved optimal (93% sensitivity and 92.5% specificity). A higher specificity (93.5%) was attained using a combination of the FAQ (cut-off of 3) with the CVF (cut-off of 10).
For low schooling elderly, the combination of the FAQ and CVF represented a very simple method of increasing the chances of correct screening. For those with higher schooling, the combination of the FAQ and CDT was more suitable.
This chapter talks about a 69-year-old man who developed a Kluver-Bucy syndrome (KBS), pseudobulbar affect, depression, and psychosis after multiple cerebral ischemic lesions. Detailed neurological and cognitive evaluations were conducted beginning at age 71. The initial diagnostic impression was that this patient developed a complex and severe neuropsychiatric symptomatology associated with a dementia syndrome secondary to vascular disease, although the presence of a neurodegenerative disease could not be ruled out. This patient presented with a significant neuropsychiatric symptomatology after several episodes of strokes. However, the severity of the vascular disease detected by MRI did not explain these symptoms, which initially led to the assumption that a cortical neurodegenerative disorder was also present. The most interesting aspect of this patient was that he had persistent behavioral symptomatology in the context of a stable or improving cognitive syndrome.
Background: Dementia is becoming a major public health problem in Latin America (LA), yet epidemiological information on dementia remains scarce in this region. This study analyzes data from epidemiological studies on the prevalence of dementia in LA and compares the prevalence of dementia and its causes across countries in LA and attempts to clarify differences from those of developed regions of the world.
Methods: A database search for population studies on rates of dementia in LA was performed. Abstracts were also included in the search. Authors of the publications were invited to participate in this collaborative study by sharing missing or more recent data analysis with the group.
Results: Eight studies from six countries were included. The global prevalence of dementia in the elderly (≥65 years) was 7.1% (95% CI: 6.8–7.4), mirroring the rates of developed countries. However, prevalence in relatively young subjects (65–69 years) was higher in LA studies The rate of illiteracy among the elderly was 9.3% and the prevalence of dementia in illiterates was two times higher than in literates. Alzheimer's disease was the most common cause of dementia.
Conclusions: Compared with studies from developed countries, the global prevalence of dementia in LA proved similar, although a higher prevalence of dementia in relatively young subjects was evidenced, which may be related to the association between low educational level and lower cognitive reserve, causing earlier emergence of clinical signs of dementia in the LA elderly population.
Background: The high prevalence of subjective memory impairment (SMI) in the elderly living in developed countries may be partly dependent on greater demand placed on them by new technologies. As part of a comprehensive study on cognitive impairment in a population living in the Amazon rainforest, we evaluated the prevalence of SMI and investigated the features associated with it.
Methods: We evaluated 163 subjects (82 females) with a mean age of 62.3 years (50–94 years), 110 of whom were illiterate, using the answer to a single question “Do you have memory problems?” to classify them into groups with or without SMI. The assessment involved application of the Mini-mental State Examination (MMSE), delayed recall from the Brief Cognitive Battery designed for the evaluation of low educated and illiterate individuals, the Patient Questionnaire (PQ) of the Primary Care Evaluation of Mental Disorders (PRIME-MD), and the Happiness Analogical Scale.
Results: A very high prevalence of SMI (70%) was observed, exceeding rates reported by similar studies conducted in developed countries. SMI was more frequent in women, whereas age and education did not impact on prevalence. Subjects with SMI had significantly more somatic and psychiatric symptoms on the PQ, as well as lower means on the MMSE, but not on the delayed recall test. Multiple logistic regressions showed that the most important factor associated with the presence of SMI was a high score on the PQ (OR: 3.84, p = 0.011).
Conclusion: Psychological and somatic symptoms may be the principal cause of SMI in this population.
Background: There is little, though growing, interest in the research area of attitudes held among physicians towards disclosing the diagnosis of dementia and Alzheimer's disease (AD), or the current practice on AD disclosure. This study aimed to investigate the practice and attitudes of specialized physicians towards AD diagnosis disclosure in Brazil.
Methods: A questionnaire was devised to survey the current practice and attitudes regarding diagnosis disclosure of AD in Brazil and sent to specialized physicians (170 geriatricians, 300 neurologists and 500 psychiatrists) by electronic mail.
Results: From 970 potential respondents, 181 physicians who usually attend AD patients returned the questionnaire. There were no significant differences between the three specialties regarding the frequency with which they informed patients of their AD diagnosis (p = 0.17). The results revealed that only 44.8% of the physicians would regularly inform the patient of the diagnosis, although 85.6% of these use clear terminology. Despite their usual practice, 76.8% would want to know their diagnosis if they themselves were affected by AD.
Conclusions: Disclosure of AD diagnosis is not common among specialized physicians in Brazil and different factors are involved. In the clinical context, discussion on advantages of diagnosis disclosure can be useful for improving the care of AD patients and their families.
Latin America has a connotation of youth (Mangone & Arizaga, 1999). Yet we cannot ignore the significant increase in life expectancy in many Latin American countries (Table 1); as the economy and level of education improve, so does the health of the population. With the increase in life expectancy, Latin Americans are beginning to perceive dementia in the elderly as a considerable social and medical problem.
Cognitive evaluation in developing countries is a difficult
undertaking due to low levels of schooling and particularly the
illiteracy still frequent in the elderly. This study was part of the
epidemiologic evaluation of dementia in Catanduva, Brazil, and had the
objective of comparing the performance of illiterate and literate
nondemented elderly individuals in 2 tests of long-term
memory—the delayed recall of a word list from the CERAD and the
delayed recall of common objects presented as simple drawings from the
Brief Cognitive Screening Battery (BCSB). Fifty-one elderly subjects
(23 illiterates) were evaluated, and the performance of the illiterates
and literates differed in the CERAD memory test, but not in the BCSB
memory test. This test may be more suitable for the assessment of
long-term memory in populations with a high frequency of illiterates,
and therefore might prove to be a useful screening tool for the
diagnosis of dementia. (JINS, 2004, 10,
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