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AAIC 2023 | Behavioral changes and dementia risk

In recent years, there has been a large research focus on later-life onset behavioral and personality changes, particularly in the context of neurodegenerative diseases. Neuropsychiatric symptoms are common in dementia and research suggests they may serve as one of the earliest indicators of disease. Numerous longitudinal studies are being conducted to track behavioral changes over time in older adults and the subsequent development of cognitive decline or dementia, to gain a better understanding of the patterns that distinguish normal age-related changes from those likely to be pathological. Byron Creese, PhD, University of Exeter Medical School, Exeter, UK, summarizes the findings of longitudinal cohort studies that have revealed a notably elevated risk of dementia in those with late-onset, sustained neuropsychiatric symptoms and subjective cognitive decline (SCD) or mild cognitive impairment (MCI), even compared to MCI without such behavioral changes. This raises the question of whether these changes could enhance the precision of diagnosing MCI and identifying high-risk groups. One challenge noted is the diverse range of behavioral changes, with most studies grouping them together. Future research is suggested to focus on individual symptoms and their specific associations with dementia risk to gain deeper insights. This interview took place at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference® (AAIC) 2023 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

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