Longitudinal course of behavioral problems during Alzheimer's disease: Linear versus curvilinear patterns of decline

Harry J. McCarty, David L. Roth, Kathryn T. Goode, Jason E. Owen, Lindy Harrell, Kristine Donovan, William E. Haley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background. Patients with Alzheimer's Disease (AD) are commonly assumed to experience a linear decline in behavioral functioning that parallels progressive cognitive decline. However, some researchers have suggested that specific behavioral problems either decline at different rates or improve in late dementia. Methods. The present analyses examined 150 AD patients at an initial assessment, 61 of whom were also evaluated annually on two additional occasions. Measures of cognitive impairment and behavioral problems were obtained. Results. Cross-sectional results indicated curvilinear associations between dementia severity and certain behavioral problems (forgetful behaviors, and emotional and impulsive behaviors). Longitudinal analyses further indicated trends for curvilinear rates of behavioral disturbance across time, with some problem areas showing improvement as AD progresses through the most severe stages. Conclusions. Even though Alzheimer's disease is a progressive dementia characterized by increasing cognitive deterioration, it appears to be inaccurate to expect behavioral functioning to show the same linear decline across time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)M200-M206
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Volume55
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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