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Midlife Neuroticism and the age of onset of Alzheimer's disease

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 August 2008

N. Archer*
Affiliation:
Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Neurodegeneration Research, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK
R. G. Brown
Affiliation:
Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Neurodegeneration Research, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre for Mental Health at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK
S. Reeves
Affiliation:
Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Neurodegeneration Research, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK
H. Nicholas
Affiliation:
Old Age Psychiatry, Farnham Road Hospital, Guildford, Surrey, UK
H. Boothby
Affiliation:
Old Age Psychiatry, Farnham Road Hospital, Guildford, Surrey, UK
S. Lovestone
Affiliation:
Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Neurodegeneration Research, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre for Mental Health at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK
*
*Address for correspondence: Dr N. Archer, Section of Old Age Psychiatry, Box PO70, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AF, UK. (Email: Nicola.Archer@iop.kcl.ac.uk)

Abstract

Background

There may be important public health implications of increasing our knowledge of factors associated with age of dementia onset. The pre-morbid personality domain of Neuroticism constituted an interesting and theoretically plausible, yet uninvestigated, candidate for such an association. We aimed to examine whether midlife Neuroticism was associated with earlier age of onset of Alzheimer's disease (AD).

Method

This was a case–comparison study of 213 patients with probable AD. Detailed clinical information was collected for all patients including age of onset of dementia symptoms. One or two knowledgeable informants rated each patient's midlife personality retrospectively using the Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) questionnaire. The relationship between midlife Neuroticism and age of dementia onset was evaluated using both correlational analysis and backward linear regression analysis.

Results

Midlife Neuroticism predicted younger age of dementia onset in females but not in males. The association found in females was independent of pre-morbid history of affective disorder.

Conclusions

This finding and its potential mechanism warrant further investigation.

Type
Original Articles
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Cambridge University Press

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