Patients with dementia often have neuropsychiatric symptoms. The objective of this study was to evaluate the relationship between neuropsychiatric symptoms and progressive cognitive decline by assessing cognitive impairment, depressive symptoms, and aggressive behavior in a sample of elderly subjects. The study sample consisted of 201 subjects admitted to nursing homes. For the purpose of the present study each subject was evaluated using the Mini-Mental State Examination, the Geriatric Depression Scale, and the Modified Overt Aggression Scale. The results show that aggressive behavior and depressive symptoms are associated with progressive cognitive decline in elderly subjects. Early assessment of these conditions can promote rational therapeutic strategies that may improve the quality of life and delay institutionalization for elderly patients.
Keywords: behavioral and psychological syndromes of dementia (BPSD); dementia; neuropsychiatric symptoms; progressive cognitive decline.