Course of neuropsychiatric symptoms during a 4-year follow up in the REAL-FR cohort
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- Gonfrier, S., Andrieu, S., Renaud, D. et al. J Nutr Health Aging (2012) 16: 134. doi:10.1007/s12603-011-0147-9
The multicenter PHRC REAL-FR cohort study was designed to follow community-dwelling patients with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease. The present study describes the evolution of neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) over 4 years.
686 patients were recruited at baseline from 16 French clinical centers. 151 patients were followed over the 4-year interval with 5 Neuropsychiatric evaluations. Neuropsychiatric symptoms were assessed using the Neuropsychiatric inventory (NPI). NPS symptoms were divided into 4 subgroups according to the European Alzheimer Disease Consortium NPI analysis; psychotic subgroup (hallucinations, delusions), hyperactivity subgroup (agitation, aggression, euphoria, disinhibition, irritability, aberrant motor behavior), apathy subgroup (apathy, eating) and affective subgroup (depression, anxiety). Secondly we studied the evolution of the population divided in 4 groups: Apathy only, Hyperactivity only, both Apathy and Hyperactivity, no Apathy no Hyperactivity.
At baseline, 100 patients (66%) presented with one or more clinically significant NPI symptoms. This figure increased to 88% at the end of 4-year follow-up (Linear by linear chi square, p<0, 0012). Five NPI symptoms showed significant increases in prevalence: agitation (17,9 to 29,1%), apathy (43,0 to 62,9%), disinhibition (2,6 to 14,6%), hallucination (2 to 4,6%) and aberrant motor behavior (13,9 to 29,1%). Prevalence of hyperactivity and apathy subgroups increased significantly during the follow-up while the prevalence of affective and psychotic subgroups did not. The number of patients with both apathy and hyperactivity increased (27% to 44%) during the follow-up period whereas the number of patients without these symptoms decreased (p =.009).
The present study shows that 2 types of symptoms increased primarily over time: Apathy and Hyperactivity. The coexistence of such opposite symptoms over time according to our result should be taken into consideration by clinicians treating those patients.