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Original Research

Measures to Assess the Noncognitive Symptoms of Dementia in the Primary Care Setting

Brent P. Forester and Thomas E. Oxman

Published: August 1, 2003

Article Abstract

Noncognitive symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias include psychosis, mood disturbances, personality changes, agitation, aggression, pacing, wandering, altered sexual behavior, changed sleep patterns, and appetite disturbances. These noncognitive symptoms of dementia are common, disabling to both the patient and the caregiver, and costly. Primary care physicians will often play a major role in diagnosing and treating dementia and related disorders in the community. Accurate recognition and treatment of noncognitive symptoms is vital. A brief, user-friendly assessment tool would aid in the clinical management of noncognitive symptoms of dementia. Accordingly, we reviewed the available measures for their relevance in a primary care setting. Among these instruments, the Neuropsychiatric Inventory-Questionnaire seems most appropriate for use in primary care and worthy of further investigation.

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