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20 February 2012

Aggressive and impulsive behavior in Alzheimer’s disease and progression of dementia

Leszek BidzanABCDEFG, Mariola BidzanABCDEF, Maria PąchalskaABDEF

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.882523

Med Sci Monit 2012; 18(3): CR190-197

Abstract

Background: The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are numerous, including worsening of mood, psychotic symptoms, aggressive and impulsive behaviours, and many others. It is generally assumed that there exists a relationship between the severity of dementia and aggressive symptoms. The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between aggressive and impulsive behaviours and cognitive function disorders in AD patients.
Material/Methods: Forty-eight AD patients living in a nursing home were included in the research group on the basis of NINCDS/ADRDA criteria. The subjects underwent two years of naturalistic observation. The intensity of agitation and aggressive behaviours was assessed on the basis of the Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory (CMAI). The Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale Cog (ADAS-cog) was used to assess cognitive function. Pharmacotherapy administered during the observation period was also taken into account.
Results: Thirty-one patients completed the two year long observation. Individuals with more severe cognitive deficiencies demonstrated a greater intensity of aggressive and impulsive behaviours, as assessed using the CMAI scale. Aggression escalated together with the development of dementia disorders. The intensity of dementia disorders was most significantly connected with physical agitation and verbal aggression. The use of neuroleptics and mood stabilisers decreased the progression of aggressive and impulsive behaviours.
Conclusions: There is a relationship between cognitive functioning disorders and the intensification of aggressive and impulsive behaviours. More severe forms of dementia are connected with greater intensification of aggressive and impulsive behaviours as the disease progresses. Periodical administration of pharmacotherapy may reduce the development of aggressive behaviours.

Keywords: Impulsive Behavior, Alzheimer Disease - psychology, Aggression, Aged, 80 and over

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Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750
Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750