Visuospatial Performance Associated with Visual Hallucinations in Dementia : News Roundup: February 2013 3rd Edition

In a longitudinal study by Bobo and colleagues the researchers looked at men aged 50 and over during a 10 year period to identify predictors of alcohol use. The researchers found that 30.7% of the men in the study were classed as moderate drinkers during the study period. The results were complex and dependent on the baseline characteristics and interacted with the number of variables including age education and self-reports of health. The researchers recruited people from the health and retirement study and the research was undertaken by the Centre for Public health research and evaluation in Seattle Washington.

In a meta-analysis of Magnetic Resonance Imaging studies Sexton and colleagues identified a reduction in the volume of the Hippocampus in older adults with Depression compared to control groups. The researchers also identified similar volume reductions in the Thalamus, Putamen and Orbitofrontal Cortex.

The Hippocampus

Feng and colleagues looked at 228 people aged 55 and above using Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the brain as well as a number of blood tests and physical measures. The researchers were interested in the associations with elevated Homocysteine. The researchers found that elevated Homocysteine levels were associated with lower performance on cognitive testing and reduced white-matter volume. However the elevated Homocysteine levels were not correlated with decreased Hippocampal volume or the volume of white-matter hyperintensities.

Hamilton and colleagues looked at the relationship between performance on a visuospatial task (Block design task) and subsequent development of visual hallucinations in people with Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy body dementia. The researchers found that severe visuospatial deficits (2.5 standard deviations below the mean) were associated with conversion to visual hallucinations of new onset in 61% of cases of people we’ve Lewy body dementia and 38% of those with Alzheimer’s disease. Mild visuospatial deficits were associated with a much lower percentage of people come developing new onset visual hallucinations. These findings therefore suggest that visuospatial performance may influence the likelihood of visual hallucinations in both Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy body dementia but more so in the latter condition.

Simon and colleagues looked at how well people were able to recall their response to antidepressants. The researchers looked at 1878 people who had two more episodes of clinical depression. The subjects were asked to complete structured recall of response to previous medications. This was then compared against the medical records. In the medical records treatment response was evaluated using PHQ-9 scores. The researchers concluded that there was a low agreement (Kappa 0.10 with a 95% confidence interval of 0 to 0.25) between structured recall and PHQ-9 scores for response attributed to treatment. The researchers comment on the utility of interview assessments on the basis of their results.


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