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A Journal on Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychopharmacology

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Social Psychiatry
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Minerva Psichiatrica 2002 March;43(1):23-8

language: Italian

Cognitive impairment: diagnostic aspects in a sample of elderly subjects

Rocca P., Calvarese P., Cocuzza E., Rivoira E., Taricco B., Bogetto F.


Background. Cognitive impairment is commonly reported in elderly populations, but its clinical significance is largely undetermined. Cognitive dysfunction appears to be an integral part of geriatric depression besides constituting a feature of dementia. In this study, a sample of elderly subjects with cognitive and/or depressed symptoms has been evaluated using standardized procedures.
Methods. Eighty-two consecutive outpatients older than 65 years with cognitive and/or depressive symptoms, attending the Psychiatric Clinic, University of Turin, were enrolled in this study. All patients were evaluated with Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), and Montgo-mery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS). Cognitive dysfunction was measured with the following neuropsychological tests: Alzheimer Disease Assessment Scale (ADAS-cog), Trail Macking Test (TMT), Weschler Memory Scale (WMS), and Verbal Fluency (VF).
Results. Forty-nine per cent of the patients showed memory complains, 42% a cognitive impairment (MMSE <26) and 77% a depressive symptomatology. Twenty-three patients met diagnostic criteria for dementia, and 10 of them had a depressive disorder in comorbidity, 53 for depressive disorders and 6 for cognitive disorder not otherwise specified. Almost all depressed patients showed some degree of cognitive deterioration measured by TMT part A (77%) and B (100%), WMS (87%) and VF (68%).
Conclusions. According with the literature, these results suggest that mild cognitive impairment is a heterogeneous entity.

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