Prevalence of Neuropsychiatric Symptoms in Young-Onset Compared to Late-Onset Alzheimer's Disease - Part 1: Findings of the Two-Year Longitudinal NeedYD-Study

Deliane van Vliet, Marjolein E. de Vugt*, Pauline Aalten, Christian Bakker, Yolande A L Pijnenburg, Myrra J. F. J. Vernooij-Dassen, Raymond T. C. M. Koopmans, Frans R. J. Verhey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background/Aims: Knowledge about neuropsychiatric symptoms in young-onset Alzheimer's disease (YO-AD) is scarce, but essential to establish a prognosis and plan care for YO-AD patients. The aim of this study is to assess frequency parameters of neuropsychiatric symptoms in YO-AD over 2 years and investigate whether there are differences compared with late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LO-AD). Methods: 98 YO-AD and 123 LO-AD patients and caregivers from two prospective cohort studies were included and assessed every 6 months for 2 years, using the Neuropsychiatric Inventory to evaluate neuropsychiatric symptoms. Results: Over the course of 2 years, the incidence, prevalence and persistence of neuropsychiatric symptoms were in general lower in YO-AD than in LO-AD, specifically for delusions, agitation, depression, anxiety, apathy, irritability and aberrant motor behavior. Frequency of individual symptoms showed large variability in both groups. Within the group of YO-AD patients, apathy was the most prevalent symptom. Conclusion: Neuropsychiatric symptoms, notably apathy, should be paid appropriate attention to in the diagnosis and treatment of YO-AD patients. Further research is needed to gain insight into the mechanisms underlying the differences in neuropsychiatric symptoms between YO-AD and LO-AD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-327
JournalDementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Early
  • onset dementia
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Behavioral symptoms
  • Frequency

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