Prevalence and Correlates of Behavioral Disorders in Old Age Subjects with Cognitive Impairment: Results from the ReGAl Project

ReGAL study group (ZANETTI O autore Irccs)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Presence of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) is very common in subjects with cognitive impairment, representing an important determinant of disease progression, institutionalization, and worse prognosis. Knowledge of the prevalence and correlates of BPSD in community-living old subjects with cognitive impairment is limited so far, but it is essential for establishing specifically tailored care and cure in such a vulnerable population. Objective: With this study, we aimed at investigating, in a large sample of old age subjects with cognitive impairment, BPSD prevalence and correlates including the main demographic, clinical, and socio-environmental characteristics. Methods: Data were gathered from the ReGAl project (Rete Geriatrica Alzheimer; Geriatric Network on Alzheimer's disease), a large longitudinal Italian multicentric clinical-based study, promoted by the Italian Society of Gerontology and Geriatrics (SIGG). Results: We evaluated data from 4,157 old-age subjects affected by mild cognitive impairment (MCI) (541; 13%) or dementia (3616; 87%). 85.2% of all the population presented with at least one BPSD. Using a factor analysis, we identified four factors of BPSD: psychotic, affective, maniac, and impulse control behaviors. Logistic regression analyses revealed that among the main demographic, clinical, and socio-environmental aspects considered, only comorbidity was associated with all factors, independently of multiple covariates. Conclusion: Identification of BPSD is crucial in everyday clinical practice and necessary to develop specific interventions and to define appropriate outcomes in their management. BPSD occur in a complex psychopathological context, influenced by several demographic and environmental factors that must be taken into account for a correct diagnosis and treatment. © 2017 - IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1275-1283
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavioral disturbances
  • cognitive impairment
  • dementia
  • old age
  • aged
  • agitation
  • anxiety
  • anxiety disorder
  • apathy
  • Article
  • behavior disorder
  • clinical feature
  • cognitive defect
  • comorbidity
  • delusion
  • demography
  • depression
  • disease association
  • disease severity
  • eating disorder
  • educational status
  • emotional disorder
  • female
  • hallucination
  • human
  • impulse control disorder
  • irritability
  • longitudinal study
  • male
  • mania
  • marriage
  • mild cognitive impairment
  • prevalence
  • priority journal
  • psychosis
  • senescence
  • sleep disorder
  • social status
  • very elderly


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