Category: Abstract (Page 2 of 3)

Lack of clinically significant gross structural abnormalities in MRIs of older patients with schizophrenia and related psychoses

J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci, 9(2):251-8.

The authors examined the reports of MRI brain studies of 69 patients with DSM-III-R-diagnosed psychotic disorders (30 early-onset and 24 late-onset schizophrenia patients and 15 with other psychoses) and 41 normal comparison subjects. Participants’ ages ranged from 45 to 87 years. A qualitative rating scheme determined type and severity of clinically detectable abnormalities, including volume loss, infarcts, lacunae, and white matter hyperintensities. In this clinically well-characterized sample, the vast majority of the MRIs were within normal limits. There were no significant differences between psychosis patients and normal comparison subjects or between early-onset and late-onset schizophrenia patients in frequency, type, or severity of gross structural abnormalities. The results indicate that late-onset schizophrenia and related disorders can exist without clinically significant gross structural abnormalities in the brain.

The impact of apolipoprotein E4 on cause of death in Alzheimer’s disease

Neurology, 49(1):76-81.

OBJECTIVE: We tested the hypothesis that the apolipoprotein E epsilon 4 (apoE4) allele is associated with an increased proportion of vascular-related mortality in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). BACKGROUND: ApoE4 is associated with an increased risk of developing AD, with an earlier onset, and may predispose to vascular dementia as well. In the general population, apoE4 has been associated with increased coronary artery disease and shorter lifespan. There is a paucity of data regarding the effect of the apolipoprotein E (apoE) genotype upon the contributing causes of death in AD. METHODS: Death certificates of 114 AD cases were reviewed blind to apoE genotype. Deaths due to ischemic heart disease (IHD), cerebrovascular disease (CVD), vascular disease (either IHD or CVD), pneumonia, and other causes were analyzed as a function of apoE genotype. Logistic regression analyses were employed to control for age and gender effects. RESULTS: The likelihood of vascular disease contributing to death increased in association with the epsilon 4 allele (29% in cases without an epsilon 4 allele, 43% in cases with one epsilon 4 allele, 53% in epsilon 4/4 homozygous cases; p = 0.035 after corrections for age and gender). This increase appeared largely due to an increase in ischemic heart disease, which was reported more frequently on death certificates of cases with one or more epsilon 4 allele (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 1.85 per epsilon 4 allele; p < 0.05). There were nonsignificant trends for apoE4 to be associated with increased mortality related to cerebrovascular disease (OR = 1.45) and decreased mortality related to pneumonia (OR = 0.77) and AD itself (OR = 0.72). The epsilon 4/4 cases had significantly earlier age of onset (mean = 64.5 yr), earlier death, and longer duration of disease (mean = 10.1 yr). Cases with one or more epsilon 4 allele tended to have lower mean MMSE scores prior to death (6.6 versus 9.5) and were more often female (54% versus 45%). CONCLUSIONS: The apoE4 allele appears to increase the risk of vascular and ischemic heart disease-related death in patients with AD.

N400 abnormalities in late life schizophrenia and related psychoses.

Biol Psychiatry, 42(1):13-23.

The N400, an event-related brain potential (ERP) sensitive to semantic congruity, has been reported to have increased latency and/or reduced amplitude in young adults with schizophrenia. Little is known, however, regarding the N400 in older schizophrenia patients, especially those with late onset. We studied 18 middle-aged and elderly patients with schizophrenia and related psychoses (nine with early-onset psychosis (EOP) and nine with late-onset psychosis (LOP)), and nine normal comparison (NC) subjects. Subjects read words which were semantically incongruent (50%) or congruent (50%) with a preceding spoken phrase which defined either an antonymic or categorical relationship. The LOP group had a significantly later peak latency of the N400 congruity effect compared to the NC group. Seven of 18 psychosis patients, but none (0/9) of the normal subjects, had an abnormal latency or amplitude (p = 0.04), measured at T6 (right temporal). Smaller amplitudes were associated with more severe negative symptoms (rp = 0.58; p = 0.01). N400 abnormalities in older schizophrenia patients likely reflect abnormal processing of semantic information.

Relationship between auditory P300 amplitude and age of onset of schizophrenia in older patients

Psychiatry Res, 79(3):241-54.

Auditory P300 amplitude reductions are well-established in young adults with schizophrenia. Little is known, however, regarding the P300 in older schizophrenia patients, especially those with late onset. We studied 28 middle-aged and elderly (mean age = 62.7 years) patients [14 with early onset schizophrenia (EOS) and 14 with late onset schizophrenia (LOS)] and 14 normal comparison (NC) participants using an auditory oddball paradigm. Event-related potentials were recorded from 15 scalp electrodes and six non-scalp sites. There were no significant differences between EOS and LOS groups in neuroleptic dosage, symptom severity, reaction times, target-detection accuracy, or N100 and N200 ERP measures. The EOS, but not the LOS, group had significantly smaller auditory oddball P300 amplitudes than the NC group. Twelve of the 14 LOS patients had P300 amplitudes in the normal range. Smaller P300 amplitudes were associated with earlier age of onset (r = 0.48), longer duration of illness (r = -0.49) and more severe alogia (r = -0.50). We conclude that P300 abnormalities in schizophrenia may be a marker for a disease subtype with early onset and more severe information-processing deficits.

Cognitive decline is faster in Lewy body variant than in Alzheimer’s disease

Neurology, 51(2):351-7.

OBJECTIVES: To quantify the rate of cognitive decline on the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) in autopsy-diagnosed Lewy body variant (LBV) of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) cases. We hypothesized that LBV patients would have a faster cognitive decline and shorter survival compared with patients with pure AD. BACKGROUND: Prior reports have shown extrapyramidal signs to be associated with a poorer prognosis in AD. It has been suggested that LBV is often characterized by a rapidly progressive course. Few data are available regarding the rate of cognitive decline in autopsy-confirmed LBV dementia cases. METHODS: We searched the databases of the University of California-San Diego Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and the Consortium to Establish a Registry in Alzheimer’s Disease (CERAD) for dementia cases with 1) an autopsy diagnosis of definite or probable AD (CERAD criteria) with concomitant Lewy bodies and 2) longitudinal MMSE assessments. This resulted in a series of 40 LBV cases and 148 AD cases without Lewy bodies, with comparable baseline MMSE scores, age, and education. The rate of cognitive decline was calculated as the baseline MMSE — final MMSE. Methods were devised to reduce floor effects on the MMSE. RESULTS: The average rate of cognitive decline was -5.8 +/- 4.5 points/y in LBV and -4.1 +/- 3.0 points/y in AD (t-test, p < 0.01). The LBV group declined a similar amount on the MMSE (means, -10.0 versus -9.6 points) over a significantly shorter time interval (1.9 versus 2.7 years; p = 0.005) than did AD patients. At baseline, the mean MMSE scores were nearly identical (18.2 in LBV; 17.8 in AD), but on follow-up examinations approximately 1, 2, and 3 years later, there were intergroup mean differences of 1.8 points (two-tailed p = 0.19), 4.2 points (p = 0.04), and 5.6 points (p = 0.03), respectively. The LBV cases had shorter survival time from the onset of cognitive symptoms (7.7 +/- 3.0 years versus 9.3 +/- 3.5 years; p = 0.007) and a shorter mean survival after entry/baseline, which was of marginal significance (3.6 versus 4.1 years; p = 0.11). CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that LBV is characterized by a faster cognitive decline and accelerated mortality compared with AD.

Psychosis in Dementia With Lewy Bodies

Prominent psychotic symptoms, particularly hallucinations and delusions, have been estimated to occur in approximately 60% of patients with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). Many of these individuals experience psychotic symptoms before the onset of other features characteristic of DLB. To facilitate consistent diagnosis of DLB, an international consortium recently created consensus guidelines for the clinical and pathological diagnosis of this disease. Accurate diagnosis of DLB is particularly important as these patients may have greater neuroleptic sensitivity than other elderly patients. Currently there is no verified treatment specifically for psychotic symptoms in DLB. However, if neuroleptic treatment cannot be avoided, low doses of atypical antipsychotics may prove beneficial, while minimizing anticholinergic and extrapyramidal side effects.

Word repetition in amnesia. Electrophysiological measures of impaired and spared memory

Brain, 123 ( Pt 9):1948-63.

Amnesic patients often show improved performance when stimuli are repeated, even in the absence of conscious memory for those stimuli. Although these performance changes are typically attributed to perceptual or motor systems, in some cases they may be related to basic language processing. We examined two neurophysiological measures that vary with word repetition in 12 amnesic patients and 12 control subjects: (i) a late positive component of the event-related potential (ERP) linked to conscious memory and (ii) the N400 component that varies with language comprehension. In each trial, the subject heard a category name, then viewed a word, and then decided whether the word was semantically congruous or incongruous (e.g. ‘yes’ for ‘baby animal: cub’; ‘no’ for ‘water sport: kitchen’). Recall and recognition testing at the end of the experiment showed that control subjects had better memory for congruous than for incongruous words, as did the amnesic patients, who performed less well overall. In contrast, amnesic patients were unimpaired on the category decisions required in each trial and, like the control subjects, showed a large N400 for incongruous relative to congruous words. Similarly, when incongruous trials were repeated after 0-13 intervening trials, N400s were reduced in both groups. When congruous trials were repeated, a late positive repetition effect was observed, but only in the control group. Furthermore, the amplitude of the late positive repetition effect was highly correlated with later word recall in both patients and controls. In the patients, the correlation was also observed with memory scores from standardized neuropsychological tests. These data are consistent with a proposed link between the late positive repetition effect and conscious memory. On the other hand, the N400 repetition effect was not correlated with episodic memory abilities, but instead indexed an aspect of memory that was intact in the amnesic patients. The preserved N400 repetition effect is an example of preserved memory in amnesia that does not easily fit into the categories of low-level perceptual processing or of motor learning. Instead, the sensitivity of the N400 to both semantic context and repetition may reflect a short-term memory process that serves language comprehension in realtime.

Relationship between severe amyloid angiopathy, apolipoprotein E genotype, and vascular lesions in Alzheimer’s disease

Ann N Y Acad Sci, 903:138-43.

In this brief review, we aim to describe the complex relationship between cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA), apolipoprotein E (ApoE), and cerebrovascular lesions in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). First, we review the evidence that CAA is associated with, and may cause, specific types of vascular lesions (VLs). In addition to being a leading cause of lobar hemorrhages in the elderly, CAA has been implicated as a likely cause of small infarcts, microinfarcts, and incomplete infarctions in the deep white matter. We also review the role that ApoE4 (the major genetic risk factor for AD) has in predisposing toward CAA, coronary artery disease, and possibly toward cerebrovascular disease. Last, we provide evidence that the association between CAA and VLs is not a spurious one due to an increase in the ApoE4 genotype. Even within patient groups with the same ApoE genotype (specifically, E4/4 homozygotes and E3/3 homozygotes), our recent analyses have found significant increases in VLs in association with severe CAA. We discuss the implications of this finding as advancing a pathogenic role for severe CAA in producing many of the VLs commonly found in AD cases.

Association between severe cerebral amyloid angiopathy and cerebrovascular lesions in Alzheimer disease is not a spurious one attributable to apolipoprotein E4

Arch Neurol, 57(6):869-74.

BACKGROUND: We have previously reported an association between severe cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) and cerebrovascular lesions in Alzheimer disease (AD), which is particularly strong for microinfarcts, hemorrhages, and multiple lesion types. Cerebral amyloid angiopathy has also been associated with the apolipoprotein E4 (APOE4) genotype, which is in turn associated with premature coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis. OBJECTIVE: To test whether severe CAA would be more strongly associated with cerebrovascular lesions than would APOE4 genotype. METHODS: We reviewed 306 cases of autopsy-confirmed AD (from the University of California, San Diego, brain autopsy series) to assess whether APOE genotype and other clinical risk factors were predictive of vascular lesions (VLs) in AD. Cerebral amyloid angiopathy severity was assessed using a semiquantitative scale in 4 brain regions (ie, hippocampus, midfrontal cortex, inferior parietal cortex, and superior temporal cortex) and an average score was computed for each case. RESULTS: We found that severe CAA was associated with an increased frequency of VLs (33% of the cases of severe CAA had VLs vs 19% of the cases of mild or absent CAA; P=.02). While the APOE4/4 genotype was associated with an increased severity of CAA, there was no significant relationship between APOE genotype and frequency of VLs. Logistic regression models showed that severe CAA, advanced age, atherosclerosis, and Hachinski Ischemia Scale score of 7 or more were all significantly associated with VLs, but the number of APOE4 alleles, history of hypertension, coronary artery disease, sex, and serum cholesterol levels had nonsignificant effects. Within strata of APOE genotype, the presence of severe CAA was associated with increased frequency of VLs (eg, within APOE4/4 homozygotes, VLs were present within 47% of the cases of severe CAA vs 9.5% of the cases of mild or absent CAA; P=.01). CONCLUSIONS: Severe CAA confers a greater risk of VLs in AD, even within strata of APOE genotype. Therefore, the association between severe CAA and VLs in AD is not a spurious one owing to APOE4. Overall, our cases of AD with APOE4 do not seem to be a more “vasculopathic” subtype of AD. The mechanisms by which CAA produces VLs of various types need to be further elucidated, as these are probably important in producing the common entity of “mixed” AD/vascular dementia. Arch Neurol. 2000.

Small concomitant vascular lesions do not influence rates of cognitive decline in patients with Alzheimer disease

Arch Neurol, 57(10):1474-9.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the relation between concomitant small cerebral infarction and clinical progression of Alzheimer disease (AD). DESIGN: A retrospective clinicopathologic study of patients with AD. METHODS: We searched the databases of the University of California, San Diego, Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, La Jolla, for patients with an autopsy diagnosis of definite AD with or without a concomitant small cerebral infarction. Clinical and neuropsychologic data obtained during longitudinal follow-up were available for 201 subjects with AD neuropathologic features and 36 with AD and concomitant cerebral infarcts (volume, < 10 cm(3)). The rates of cognitive decline on the Mini-Mental State Examination and the Dementia Rating Scale were each calculated and compared between the 2 groups. RESULTS: The age at death was significantly (P = .05) higher and the Braak stage was lower in patients with mixed AD and infarct pathological features compared with those with AD pathological features only. The rate of cognitive decline over time was not significantly (P > or = .20 for all) different between the 2 groups. There was a trend for the presence of a cerebral infarct to be associated with more severe clinical dementia (P =.08) as measured by the Dementia Rating Scale, but no such trend for the Mini-Mental State Examination. CONCLUSION: This clinicopathologic correlation study suggests that concomitant small cerebral infarcts with a total volume of less than 10 cm(3) do not significantly influence the overall rate of global cognitive decline in patients with AD. Arch Neurol. 2000;57:1474-1479
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