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Personality Changes May Help Distinguish Between Types of Dementia

Personality Changes May Help Distinguish Between Types of Dementia

ST. LOUIS, May 31 -- The appearance of passive personality traits in an older adult with signs of dementia may signal the presence of Lewy bodies rather than Alzheimer's disease, said investigators here.

Among 290 older adults in a longitudinal study, specific personality traits involving social withdrawal and purposeless hyperactivity helped distinguish between the two types of dementia, wrote James E. Galvin, M.D., M.P.H., of the Alzheimer Disease Research Center at Washington University School of Medicine, and colleagues.

"Our results suggest that incorporating a brief, simple inventory of personality traits may improve the identification of individuals with dementia with Lewy bodies," reported the investigators in the May 29 issue of Neurology.

Early identification of dementia helps patients and families plan for the inevitable decline in cognitive function, the authors noted.

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