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Aggression in the Elderly

Henry Brodaty, MD, FRANZCP, and Lee-Fay Low, BSc (Hons) (Psych)

Published: April 1, 2003

Article Abstract

Aggression is a common behavioral symptom of dementia. Aggression is associated with frontotemporaldementia, greater dementia severity, cognitive decline, and other behavioral and psychologicaldisturbances. It is influenced by the environment and has been correlated with neuropathologicchanges and certain polymorphisms. Aggression in dementia patients results in higher psychotropicuse and distress to family caregivers and nursing home staff; it is predictive of institutionalization.There is empirical evidence for the efficacy of pharmacotherapy and more limited evidence forpsychosocial interventions in the successful management of aggression in persons with dementia.Management of aggression should include comprehensive assessment of medical, psychological, andenvironmental variables.

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