Aging clinical and experimental research 2017 01 21() doi 10.1007/s40520-017-0725-8
Behavioral and psychological symptoms are widely accepted as accelerator factors in progression to dementia. Although alexithymia is closely related to normal aging process and poor neurocognitive performance, alexithymia has not been included in these symptoms yet.
Here, we aimed to investigate alexithymia features in people with prominent clinical memory complaints.
The participants (n = 82) were classified into three groups as: subjective cognitive decline (n = 30), mild cognitive impairment (n = 27), and mild Alzheimer’s disease (n = 25) after Mini-Mental State Examination, Clinical Dementia Rating Scale, neuropsychological test battery, Geriatric Depression Scale, and Hachinski Ischemic Scale. All participants were assessed with 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale.
The patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment have significantly greater alexithymia features than individuals with subjective cognitive decline in Toronto Alexithymia Scale (p < 0.05 for all). The alexithymia features in patients with mild Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment did not significantly differ (p > 0.05, for all).
People who have objective cognitive decline seem to have more alexithymia features than people with subjective cognitive decline. Moreover, alexithymia features seem to be similar in people mild Alzheimer’s disease and in mild cognitive impairment.
Alexithymia might be an important searching domain of behavioral-psychological symptoms in people with cognitive problems beyond aging.