• Cognitive development in adult children of Alzheimer’s patients : a neuropsychological reassessment: 7 year follow up [M.S. Thesis]

      Gade, Anders; Magnús Jóhannsson; Landspítali University Hospital, Psychiatric department (2008-08)
      Previous studies on first-degree relatives of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients have revealed a higher risk of developing dementia, and that subtle cognitive impairment can be detected before overt clinical signs appear using neuropsychological tests. Findings on children of AD patients are very scarce within the literature. The main aim of this study was to explore the cognitive development of adult children (AC) of AD patients in Icelandic pedigrees selected from an ongoing genetic research, over a seven-year period. The subjects were 83 AC (age range 46-74) with a family history of AD and a control group (NC) constituting 30 individuals (age range 48-73) without any known first-degree relative with dementia. Cognitive abilities were assessed using neuropsychological tests of orientation, verbal and non-verbal memory, abstract reasoning, language, concentration, mental speed, and visuo-spatial and constructional abilities. Participants with known central or peripheral nervous disorders were excluded from the study. Primary results revealed no statistical difference between the two groups on any of the neuropsychological tests from time 1 to time 2, over a seven year period. These findings place the onset of subtle cognitive impairments in adult children of AD patients after the age of 60 years. When comparing the AC group to 76 AD patients and 92 siblings of AD patients, participating in the genetic study, one AC had stronger resemblance to the AD group than other AC on the neuropsychological measures. Furthermore, 10% of the AC group had stronger resemblance to the siblings of AD patient in the neuropsychological measures than the rest of the group, indicating a possible trend within the AC group.