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Impact of depressive symptoms on outcome of Alzheimer's disease

Impacto dos sintomas depressivos na evolução da doença de Alzheimer

Abstract

There is no consensus in the medical literature about the impact of depressive symptoms on the evolution of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Objective: To compare the evolution of AD patients, with and without depressive symptoms, in terms of cognition, functionality and caregiver stress. Methods: The study entailed 2 stages: an initial retrospective stage involving review of medical charts of patients with mild and moderate AD. Patients were divided according to the presence or absence of depressive symptoms, defined by medical interview and questions on depressed mood from the CAMDEX (Cambridge Examination for Mental Disorders of the Elderly) and Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI). Twenty-nine patients were evaluated, 37.9% with depression (Group D+) and 62.1% without depression (Group D-). The groups were compared regarding demographic and medical characteristics, cognitive and functional performance, presence of apathy as a separate symptom, and caregiver stress, using standardized tests and questionnaires. In the second transversal step, the same tools were reapplied after 2 to 4 years of follow-up, and evolution for the two groups was compared. Results: The two groups were highly homogeneous in demographic and clinic characteristics, as well as in length of follow-up, and presented no significant difference in cognitive or functional evaluation at the time of diagnoses or after follow-up. Only caregiver stress was greater in Group D+ at the two time points (p<0.001). Conclusions: No differences in the evolution of AD patients with or without depressive symptoms were evident. Nevertheless, these symptoms were associated to emotional burden of caregivers.

Key words:
Alzheimer's disease; depression; cognition; caregiver

Resumo

Não há consenso na literatura sobre o impacto dos sintomas depressivos na evolução da doença de Alzheimer (DA). Objetivo: Comparar a evolução de pacientes com DA, com e sem sintomas depressivos, quanto à cognição, à funcionalidade e estresse do cuidador. Métodos: O estudo incluiu duas etapas: a primeira retrospectiva, com revisão de prontuários de pacientes com DA leve e moderada, divididos conforme presença ou ausência de sintomas depressivos, definidas por anamnese e questões referentes a humor deprimido do CAMDEX (Cambridge Examination for Mental Disorders of the Elderly) e Interrogatório Neuro-psiquiátrico (INP). Foram avaliados 29 pacientes, 37,9% com (D+) e 62,1% sem depressão (D-). Os grupos foram comparados quanto a variáveis demográficas, clínicas e quanto ao desempenho cognitivo, funcionalidade, presença de apatia do paciente e estresse do cuidador, através de questionários e testes padronizados. Na segunda etapa, transversal, foram reaplicados os mesmos instrumentos após 2 a 4 anos de acompanhamento, comparando-se a evolução nos dois grupos. Resultados: Os grupos, homogêneos segundo variáveis demográficas, clínicas e tempo de evolução, não apresentaram diferença significante nos testes cognitivos e na avaliação funcional, no momento do diagnóstico, e ao longo da evolução. Quanto ao estresse do cuidador, foi maior no grupo D+ nos dois momentos (p<0,001). Conclusões: Não se constatou diferença na evolução de pacientes com DA com ou sem sintomas depressivos. No entanto, tais sintomas se relacionaram a maior sobrecarga emocional do cuidador, no momento do diagnóstico e na evolução.

Palavras-chave:
doença de Alzheimer; depressão; cognição; cuidador

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Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    Oct-Dec 2010

History

  • Received
    18 Apr 2010
  • Accepted
    11 Sept 2010
Academia Brasileira de Neurologia, Departamento de Neurologia Cognitiva e Envelhecimento R. Vergueiro, 1353 sl.1404 - Ed. Top Towers Offices, Torre Norte, São Paulo, SP, Brazil, CEP 04101-000, Tel.: +55 11 5084-9463 | +55 11 5083-3876 - São Paulo - SP - Brazil
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