Actigraphy in agitated patients with dementia : Monitoring treatment outcomes

Mahlberg, R; Walther, S (2007). Actigraphy in agitated patients with dementia : Monitoring treatment outcomes. Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie, 40(3), pp. 178-184. Darmstadt: Springer 10.1007/s00391-007-0420-z

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Especially in pharmacotherapeutic research, a variety of methods to monitor behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) are currently being discussed. To date, the most frequently used of these are clinical scales, which, however, are subjective and highly dependent on personnel resources. In our study, we tested the usefulness of actigraphy as a more direct and objective way to measure day-night rhythm disturbances and agitated behaviour.After a baseline assessment, 24 patients with probable dementia of the Alzheimer type (NINCDS-ADRDA) and agitated behaviour received either 3 mg melatonin (n=7), 2.5 mg dronabinol (n=7), or placebo (n=10) for two weeks. In addition, 10 young and 10 elderly healthy subjects were examined as a control group. Motor activity levels were assessed using an actigraph worn continuously on the wrist of the non-dominant hand. At the beginning and the end of the study, patients' Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI) scores were also assessed.In the verum group, actigraphic nocturnal activity (P=0.001), NPI total score (P=0.043), and NPI agitation subscale score (P=0.032) showed significant reductions compared to baseline. The treatment-baseline ratio of nocturnal activity (P=0.021) and treatment-baseline difference of the nocturnal portion of 24 h activity (P=0.012) were reduced. Patients' baseline activity levels were similar to those seen in healthy elderly subjects. Younger healthy subjects exhibited higher motor activity even at night. There was no correlation between actigraphy and NPI.Both actigraphic measures and the gold standard clinical scale were able to distinguish between the verum and placebo groups. However, because they did not correlate with each other, they clearly represent different aspects of BPSD, each of which reacts differently to therapy. As a result, actigraphy may well come to play an important role in monitoring treatment success in BPSD.

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Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy > Management

UniBE Contributor:

Walther, Sebastian










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Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:55

Last Modified:

12 May 2022 08:35

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URI: (FactScience: 41990)

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