Background: Neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) in Alzheimer's disease (AD) are a major factor in nursing home placement and a primary cause of stress for caregivers. Elevated cholesterol has been linked to psychiatric disorders and has been shown to be a risk factor for AD and to impact disease progression. The present study investigated the relationship between cholesterol and NPS in AD.
Methods: Data on cholesterol and NPS from 220 individuals (144 females, 76 males) with mild-to-moderate AD from the Texas Alzheimer's Research and Care Consortium (TARCC) cohort were analyzed. The total number of NPS and symptoms of hyperactivity, psychosis, affect and apathy were evaluated. Groups based on total cholesterol (TC; ≥ 200 vs. <200 mg/dl) were compared with regard to NPS. The impact of gender was also assessed.
Results: Individuals with high TC had lower MMSE scores as well as significantly more NPS and more symptoms of psychosis. When stratified by gender, males with high TC had significantly more NPS than females with high TC or than males or females with low TC.
Conclusion: The role of elevated cholesterol in the occurrence of NPS in AD appears to be gender and symptom specific. A cross-validation of these findings will have implications for possible treatment interventions, especially for males with high TC.
- Alzheimer's disease
- Neuropsychiatric symptoms