Tran P, Schmidt K, Gallo J, Tuppo E, Scheinthal S, Chopra A, Libon DJ. Neuropsychiatric Symptoms and Medical Illness in Patients with Dementia: An Exploratory Study. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2006;106(7):412–414. doi: 10.7556/jaoa.2006.106.7.412.
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Objective: To determine the association between neuropsychiatric symptoms and the presence of medical illness among outpatients with mild dementia.
Method: The Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI) was used to assess neuropsychiatric symptoms, and the Cumulative Illness Rating Scale (CIRS) was used to evaluate physical impairment, in 44 outpatients diagnosed as having dementia (Alzheimer disease, n=22; vascular dementia, n=13; mixed dementia, n=9). The tests used were standard parts of a memory assessment program at a college of osteopathic medicine. Pearson product moment correlations were used to assess any associations between NPI and CIRS scores.
Results: Significant associations were identified between several NPI-assessed symptoms and degree of medical illness as measured by the CIRS. Neurobehavioral problems were significantly correlated (P<.05) with illness in the following body organ systems: gastrointestinal (lower), genitourinary, neurologic, ophthalmologic/otolaryngologic, psychiatric, and respiratory.
Conclusion: The authors' preliminary data underscore the importance of primary care physicians assessing patients with dementia for comorbidity of psychiatric illnesses when conducting medical examinations.
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