Psychological Medicine

Original Articles

Neuropsychiatric and neuropsychological correlates of delusions in Alzheimer's disease

R. Migliorellia1, G. Petraccaa1, A. Tesóna1, L. Sabea1, R. Leiguardaa1 and S. E. Starksteina1 c1

a1 Department of Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry, Raúl Carrea Institute of Neurological Research, Buenos Aires, Argentina

SYNOPSIS

We examined the prevalence, phenomenology, and clinical correlates of delusions in a consecutive series of 103 patients with probable Alzheimer's disease (AD). Patients were examined with the Present State Exam and the Dementia–Psychosis Scale. Twenty-one patients (20%) met DSM-III-R criteria for a delusional disorder. The most frequent delusion type was paranoid (71%), followed by hypochondriacal (67%), the Capgras syndrome (29%), house misidentification (29%), and grandiose delusions (29%). Out of the 21 AD patients with delusions, 76% had three or more different types of delusions simultaneously. The frequency of delusions was not significantly associated with age, education, or age at dementia onset, and the type and severity of cognitive impairments was similar for AD patients with and without delusions. However, AD patients with delusions had significantly higher mania and anosognosia scores.

Correspondence:

c1 Address for correspondence: Dr Sergio E. Starkstein, Instituto de Investigaciones Neurológicas Raúl Carrea, Fleni, Montaneses 2325, 1428 Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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