Background: Presence of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) is very common in subjects with cognitive impairment, representing an important determinant of disease progression, institutionalization, and worse prognosis. Knowledge of the prevalence and correlates of BPSD in community-living old subjects with cognitive impairment is limited so far, but it is essential for establishing specifically tailored care and cure in such a vulnerable population.
Objective: With this study, we aimed at investigating, in a large sample of old age subjects with cognitive impairment, BPSD prevalence and correlates including the main demographic, clinical, and socio-environmental characteristics.
Methods: Data were gathered from the ReGAl project (Rete Geriatrica Alzheimer; Geriatric Network on Alzheimer's disease), a large longitudinal Italian multicentric clinical-based study, promoted by the Italian Society of Gerontology and Geriatrics (SIGG).
Results: We evaluated data from 4,157 old-age subjects affected by mild cognitive impairment (MCI) (541; 13%) or dementia (3616; 87%). 85.2% of all the population presented with at least one BPSD. Using a factor analysis, we identified four factors of BPSD: psychotic, affective, maniac, and impulse control behaviors. Logistic regression analyses revealed that among the main demographic, clinical, and socio-environmental aspects considered, only comorbidity was associated with all factors, independently of multiple covariates.
Conclusion: Identification of BPSD is crucial in everyday clinical practice and necessary to develop specific interventions and to define appropriate outcomes in their management. BPSD occur in a complex psychopathological context, influenced by several demographic and environmental factors that must be taken into account for a correct diagnosis and treatment.
- Behavioral disturbances
- cognitive impairment
- old age