Neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPSs) have a large impact on the quality of life of patients with dementia. A few studies have compared neuropsychiatric disturbances between dementia subtypes, but the results were conflicting. In the present study, we investigated whether the prevalence of NPSs differs between Alzheimer's disease (AD) and vascular dementia (VaD). The merit of our study is that we used clinical as well as histopathological information to differentiate between dementia subtypes. This retrospective descriptive study comprised 80 brains obtained from donors to the Netherlands Brain Bank between 1984 and 2010. These donors were diagnosed postmortem with AD (n =40) or VaD (n=40). We assessed the presence of NPSs by reviewing the information found in the patients' medical files. The most prevalent symptom in the sample as a whole was agitation (45 cases, 57.0%), followed by depression (33, 41.2%) and anxiety (28, 35.4%). Our study tried to contribute to the discussion by including, for the first time in the literature, a sample of AD and VaD patients with neuropathologically confirmed diagnoses. Since no significant differences were found between AD and VaD patients, we suggest that the prevalence of NPSs cannot be predicted from the diagnosis of AD or VaD.
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