Assessment of neuropsychiatric symptoms in dementia: Toward improving accuracy

Avaliação de sintomas neuropsiquiátricos na demência: para melhorar a precisão

Florindo Stella About the author

ABSTRACT

The issue of this article concerned the discussion about tools frequently used tools for assessing neuropsychiatric symptoms of patients with dementia, particularly Alzheimer's disease. The aims were to discuss the main tools for evaluating behavioral disturbances, and particularly the accuracy of the Neuropsychiatric Inventory - Clinician Rating Scale (NPI-C). The clinical approach to and diagnosis of neuropsychiatric syndromes in dementia require suitable accuracy. Advances in the recognition and early accurate diagnosis of psychopathological symptoms help guide appropriate pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions. In addition, recommended standardized and validated measurements contribute to both scientific research and clinical practice. Emotional distress, caregiver burden, and cognitive impairment often experienced by elderly caregivers, may affect the quality of caregiver reports. The clinician rating approach helps attenuate these misinterpretations. In this scenario, the NPI-C is a promising and versatile tool for assessing neuropsychiatric syndromes in dementia, offering good accuracy and high reliability, mainly based on the diagnostic impression of the clinician. This tool can provide both strategies: a comprehensive assessment of neuropsychiatric symptoms in dementia or the investigation of specific psychopathological syndromes such as agitation, depression, anxiety, apathy, sleep disorders, and aberrant motor disorders, among others.

Key words:
neuropsychiatric symptoms; assessment; scales; Alzheimer's disease; dementia

RESUMO

Neste artigo, comentamos sobre as escalas frequentemente utilizadas para avaliação de sintomas neuropsi­quiátricos presentes em pacientes com demência, especialmente, na doença de Alzheimer. Os objetivos consistiram na discussão sobre as principais estratégias de avaliação dos distúrbios de comportamento e, particularmente, no exame da acurácia do Inventário Neuropsiquiátrico - Avaliação do Clínico (NPI-C) A investigação clínica e o diagnóstico das síndromes neuropsiquiátricas requerem uma acurácia apropriada. Avanços no reconhecimento dos sintomas e na acurácia do diagnóstico precoce das manifestações psicopatológicas contribuem para a instituição do tratamento adequado, tanto farmacológico como não-farmacológico. Além disso, instrumentos padronizados e validados são recomendados tanto para a investigação científica, quanto para a prática clínica. Estresse emocional, sobrecarga de trabalho e declínio cognitivo, não raro presente no cuidador idoso, podem afetar a qualidade da descrição dos sintomas vivenciados pelo paciente. Neste contexto, o NPI-C é uma abordagem promissora e versátil para a avaliação das síndromes neuropsiquiátricas na demência, com boa acurácia e confiabilidade, principalmente, com base na impressão diagnóstica do clínico. Esta escala permite uma avaliação global dos sintomas neuropsiquiátricos na demência ou pode ser utilizada como uma estratégia para a investigação de síndromes psicopatológicas específicas na demência, como agitação, depressão, ansiedade, apatia, distúrbios do sono ou distúrbio motor aberrante, dentre outros.

Palavras-chave:
sintomas neuropsiquiátricos; avaliação; escalas; doença de Alzheimer; demência

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Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    Jul-Sep 2013

History

  • Received
    19 June 2013
  • Accepted
    19 Aug 2013
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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