Cognition and Neuropsychiatric Symptoms in Alzheimer Disease: A Century-Old Problem

In November 1906, the 37th Meeting of Southwest German Psychiatrists in Tübingen featured a presentation about a 51-year-old woman with pathologic jealousy who also displayed forgetfulness, focal neurologic deficits, hallucinations, delusions, and psychosocial dysfunction.1 The presenter was Alois Alzheimer, and his patient, Auguste Deter, became the first person with Alzheimer disease (AD) described in the medical literature. Note that Frau Deter’s presentation was characterized more by prominent neuropsychiatric dysfunction than memory complaints.2 Clinicians and researchers have wrestled with the question of how cognitive decline and neuropsychiatric symptoms are related in AD ever since.

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