Awareness of disease in Alzheimer's disease: preliminary results of a longitudinal study

Maria Fernanda Barroso de Sousa Raquel Luiza Santos Cynthia Arcoverde Marcia Dourado Jerson Laks About the authors

BACKGROUND: The presence of cognitive deficits and behavioral and psychological symptoms in dementia makes the phenomenon of awareness of disease a rather complex object of study. This phenomenon has been most studied in cross-sectional studies than in longitudinal studies. OBJECTIVE: To compare awareness of disease in Alzheimer's patients over six months. METHODS: Early-stage Alzheimer's disease patients (n = 18) were evaluated over six months using Scale of Psychosocial Impact of the Diagnosis of Dementia (ASPIDD), Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR), Cornell Depression Scale in Dementia (Cornell), Quality of Life in Alzheimer's Disease (QoL-AD - patient's version) and Pfeffer Functional Activities Questionnaire (PFAQ) and caregivers were assessed using Zarit Burden Interview (Zarit) and QoL-AD - caregiver's version. RESULTS: At six months' observation, there was a decline in the degree of awareness of disease (p = 0,02), in cognitive status (p < 0.01), in functional activities (p < 0.01), in clinical staging of the dementia (p < 0.01) and an increase in depressive symptoms (p < 0.01). DISCUSSION: As the severity of dementia increases, there is also impaired awareness of disease, together with cognitive and functional deficits.

Dementia; anosognosia; awareness of deficit; insight

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