Neuropsychiatric Symptoms and Trajectories of Dependence and Cognition in a Sample of Community-dwelling Older Adults with Dementia

Anton J. Kociolek, Kayri K. Fernandez, Michelle Hernandez, Zhezhen Jin, Stephanie Cosentino, Carolyn W. Zhu, Yian Gu, Davangere P. Devanand, Yaakov Stern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Objectives: Neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS), including psychotic symptoms (hallucinations, illusions, delusions), agitation/aggression, and depressed mood, are common in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and predict poorer outcomes, including faster disease progression. We aimed to evaluate associations between NPS and cognition and dependence in a multi-ethnic sample of community-dwelling older adults with AD. Methods: Predictors 3 (P3) is a cohort study of AD disease courses recruiting older adults aged 65 and above residing in upper Manhattan. A total of 138 of 293 participants had probable AD at the study baseline. We fit linear mixed models to examine longitudinal associations of time-varying NPS (psychotic symptoms, agitation/aggression, and depressed mood) with dependence and cognition, adjusted for race-ethnicity, sex, education, age, clinical dementia rating score, APOE-ϵ4, and comorbidity burden; separate interaction models were fit for age, Hispanic ethnicity, and sex. Results: Psychotic symptoms were associated with faster rates of increasing dependence and declining cognition over time, agitation/aggression with faster rates of declining cognition, and depressed mood with faster rates of increasing dependence. Among psychotic symptoms, delusions, but not hallucinations or illusions, were associated with worse outcome trajectories. Depressed mood predicted an accelerated increase in dependence in males but not females. Conclusion: Our results confirm and extend prior results in clinic-based samples. The presence of NPS was associated with worse trajectories of dependence and cognition in this muti-ethnic sample of older adults with AD. Importantly, sex modified the association between depressed mood and dependence. Our results on NPS as predictors of differential AD progression in a community-dwelling, ethnically diverse sample serve to better inform the clinical care of patients and the future development of AD therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-419
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Alzheimer Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2023


  • AD progression
  • Alzheimer’s disease (AD)
  • aging
  • dementia
  • hallucinations
  • neuropsychiatric symptoms


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