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Alzheimer Disease Patients and Their Caregiver Children May Acquire Depression

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Alzheimer disease patients and their caregiver children may acquire depression.

"Signs of depression in patients with Alzheimer disease are difficult to detect because they change over time and vary in intensity and duration. Estimated frequency depends greatly on the evaluation scale (Cornell scale, Geriatric Depression Scale, Behave-Alzheimer disease scale, Cohen-Mansfield scale, Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI)). Several risk factors have been identified including early age of disease onset, female gender, etc). The anatomic basis of depression is essentially related to the noradrenergic and serotoninergic systems," a researcher in France reported.

"Caregivers bear a heavy burden, psychologically (30-50% of all cases of depression), physically, and financially. Depression in the caregiver favors depression in the patient, and vice versa," according to A.S. Rigaud, Borca Hospital.

"Episodes may develop at any time during the disease course. Decompensation depends on both patient-related and caregiver-related factors."

"Depression is frequent, both in the patient and in the caregiver and must be detected and treated early. It has been demonstrated that 50% of the caregivers may be affected, but only 10-20% are treated," Riguad stated.

Rigaud published the study in Presse Medicale (Epidemiology of depression in patients with Alzheimer's disease and in their aiding children. Presse Medicale, 2003;32(24 Suppl.):5-8).

For additional information, contact A.S. Rigaud, Hop Broca, Paris, France.

The publisher's contact information for the journal Presse Medicale is: Masson Editeur, 120 Blvd. Saint-Germain, 75280 Paris 06, France.

The information in this article comes under the major subject areas of Mental Health, Alzheimer Disease, and Neurology. This article was prepared by Health & Medicine Week editors from staff and other reports.

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