Neuropsychiatric symptoms (behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia) and the development of dementia treatments
Neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) are central features of dementia and an important treatment target. They should be assessed in future studies of emerging dementia therapies, using appropriate measures matched to the purpose of each study. Several significant issues remain regarding (1) the classification of these symptoms into syndromes, and (2) the development of better clinical measures for their quantification. In particular, effort should be directed at assessing their evolution over shorter time periods, and at using more objective methods in their measurement, such as actigraphy. These issues can be solved with nosologic study and other advances that could be brought about quickly, if appropriate time and effort are allocated. Empirical characterization of clinically meaningful change in NPS – by examining their relationship with dementia care burden, disability, quality of life, caregiver distress, and resource utilization – would be an important advance.(Received October 30 2006)
(Accepted October 31 2006)
(Published Online March 9 2007)
Key Words: dementia; neuropsychiatric symptoms; behavioral symptoms; classification; measurement; treatment.
c1 Correspondence should be addressed to: Professor Constantine G. Lyketsos, Department of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, 4940 Eastern Avenue, A4 Center, Room 458, Baltimore, Maryland, 21224, U.S.A. Phone: +1 410 550 0062; Fax: +1 410 550 1407. Email: [email protected].