Understanding hallucinations in probable Alzheimer's disease: Very low prevalence rates in a tertiary memory clinic

Linszen, M. M. J., Lemstra, A. W., Dauwan, M., Brouwer, R. M., Scheltens, P. & Sommer, I. E. C., Apr-2018, In : Alzheimer's & dementia (Amsterdam, Netherlands). 10, p. 358-362 5 p.

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Introduction: Averaging at 13.4%, current literature reports widely varying prevalence rates of hallucinations in patients with probable Alzheimer's disease (AD), and is still inconclusive on contributive factors to hallucinations in AD.

Methods: This study assessed prevalence, associated factors and clinical characteristics of hallucinations in 1227 patients with probable AD, derived from a tertiary memory clinic specialized in early diagnosis of dementia. Hallucinations were assessed with the Neuropsychiatric Inventory.

Results: Hallucination prevalence was very low, with only 4.5% (n = 55/1227) affected patients. Hallucinations were mostly visual (n = 40/55) or auditory (n = 12/55). Comorbid delusions were present in over one-third of cases (n = 23/55).Hallucinations were associated with increased dementia severity, neuropsychiatric symptoms, and a lifetime history of hallucination-evoking disease (such as depression and sensory impairment), but not with age or gender.

Discussion: In the largest sample thus far, we report a low prevalence of hallucinations in probable AD patients, comparable to rates in non-demented elderly. Our results suggest that hallucinations are uncommon in early stage AD. Clinicians that encounter hallucinations in patients with early AD should be sensitive to hallucination-evoking comorbidity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-362
Number of pages5
JournalAlzheimer's & dementia (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Publication statusPublished - Apr-2018

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