Anosognosia and neuropsychiatric symptoms and disorders in mild alzheimer disease and mild cognitive impairment

Gianfranco Spalletta, Paolo Girardi, Carlo Caltagirone, Maria Donata Orfei

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Anosognosia is a multidimensional phenomenon that negatively affects course of illness. This study aimed to explore the association between anosognosia and neuropsychiatric phenomena in mild Alzheimer's disease (AD) and in mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The Anosognosia Questionnaire for Dementia to assess anosognosia, and the Neuropsychiatric Inventory to assess neuropsychiatric symptoms were administered to 209 patients (103 mild AD, 52 amnestic-MCI, and 54 amnestic multidomain-MCI). Categorical diagnoses of apathy, depression, and psychosis were made using specific criteria for dementia. With regard to continuous scores, in mild AD, we found positive correlation between symptoms of anosognosia and apathy, agitation and aberrant motor behaviors, while in MCI, we did not find significant association. At a categorical level, the diagnosis of anosognosia in mild AD was associated with the diagnosis of apathy. In mild AD, the frequent co-occurrence of frontally mediated behavioral disorders and anosognosia, particularly apathy, supports the hypothesis of a shared neuropsychogenic process due to the disruption of frontal brain networks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)761-772
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • apathy
  • awareness
  • behavioral symptoms
  • depression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Psychology


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