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Overlapping Symptoms of Geriatric Depression and Alzheimer-Type Dementia
Eugene H. Rubin; Charles F. Zorumski; William J. Burke
Psychiatric Services 1988; doi:
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This work was supported in part by grants AG03911 and AG05681 from the National Institute on Aging. The authors thank Sylvia Sirkin for her assistance.

Barnes geropsychiatry unit

Department of psychiatry of the Washington University School of Medicine, 4940 Audubon Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri 63110

University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha

American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

The occurrence of geriatric depression and dementia of the Alzheimer type, two of the most common diseases of late life, is certain to increase as the proportion and absolute number of Americans over the age of 65 grow larger. Overlapping symptomatology can sometimes make it difficult to determine whether a patient suffers from geriatric depression with cognitive abnormalities, Alzheimer-type dementia with depressive symptoms, or coexisting depression and dementia. In this review of the course, symptomatology, and pathophysiology of Alzheimer-type dementia and geriatric depression, the authors describe the symptoms often shared by these diseases as well as the characteristics usually associated with one or the other. Factors that complicate diagnosis, such as the presence of other medical illnesses and pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic changes associated with aging, are also discussed.

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