Psychological features in persons at risk for familial Alzheimer's disease

Joan M. Swearer, Brian F. O'Donnell, Michael Parker, Kevin J. Kane, David A. Drachman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Persons at risk for inherited neurodegenerative diseases may experience symptoms of anxiety and depression because of concern over the possibility of developing the disease in the future. The purpose of this study was to assess psychological and emotional symptoms in persons at the age of risk for developing early-onset familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD). Their responses on a psychiatric rating scale (SCL-90-R) were compared with four groups: patients with mild FAD; head injury patients; patients with clinically diagnosed depression; and healthy control subjects. Mean scores of the at-risk FAD group were not statistically different than those of the controls. In contrast, the head injury and depressed groups had significantly elevated scores across the clinical scales. These results suggest that depression and anxiety are not prominent features in persons at genetic risk for early-onset familial Alzheimer's disease. Similar results have been found in studies of persons at risk for developing Huntington's disease, another autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-162
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Depression
  • Genetics
  • Neuropsychology
  • Psychiatry
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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