Autonomic dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease: Tools for assessment and review of the literature

Grazia Daniela Femminella, Giuseppe Rengo, Klara Komici, Paola Iacotucci, Laura Petraglia, Gennaro Pagano, Claudio De Lucia, Vincenzo Canonico, Domenico Bonaduce, Dario Leosco, Nicola Ferrara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Autonomic dysfunction is very common in patients with dementia, and its presence might also help in differential diagnosis among dementia subtypes. Various central nervous system structures affected in Alzheimer's disease are also implicated in autonomic nervous system regulation, and it has been hypothesized that the deficit in central cholinergic function observed in Alzheimer's disease could likely lead to autonomic dysfunction. Several feasible tests can be used in clinical practice for the assessment of parasympathetic and sympathetic functions, especially in terms of cardiovascular autonomic modulation. In this review, we describe the different tests available and the evidence from the literature which indicate a definite presence of autonomic dysfunction in dementia at various degrees. Importantly, the recognition of dysautonomia, besides possibly being an early marker of dementia, would help prevent the disabling complications which increase the risk of morbidity, institutionalization, and mortality in these individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-377
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Volume42
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • autonomic nervous system
  • baroreflex
  • functional recovery
  • orthostatic hypotension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Medicine(all)

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    Femminella, G. D., Rengo, G., Komici, K., Iacotucci, P., Petraglia, L., Pagano, G., De Lucia, C., Canonico, V., Bonaduce, D., Leosco, D., & Ferrara, N. (2014). Autonomic dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease: Tools for assessment and review of the literature. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 42(2), 369-377. https://doi.org/10.3233/JAD-140513