Neuropsychiatric symptoms as early manifestations of emergent dementia: Provisional diagnostic criteria for mild behavioral impairment

Alzheimers Dement. 2016 Feb;12(2):195-202. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2015.05.017. Epub 2015 Jun 18.


Neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) are common in dementia and in predementia syndromes such as mild cognitive impairment (MCI). NPS in MCI confer a greater risk for conversion to dementia in comparison to MCI patients without NPS. NPS in older adults with normal cognition also confers a greater risk of cognitive decline in comparison to older adults without NPS. Mild behavioral impairment (MBI) has been proposed as a diagnostic construct aimed to identify patients with an increased risk of developing dementia, but who may or may not have cognitive symptoms. We propose criteria that include MCI in the MBI framework, in contrast to prior definitions of MBI. Although MBI and MCI can co-occur, we suggest that they are different and that both portend a higher risk of dementia. These MBI criteria extend the previous literature in this area and will serve as a template for validation of the MBI construct from epidemiologic, neurobiological, treatment, and prevention perspectives.

Keywords: Agitation; Alzheimer's disease; Apathy; BPSD; Behavior; Behaviour; Dementia; Depression; Disinhibition; FTD; MBI; MCI; NPS; Neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia; Psychosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cognitive Dysfunction / complications
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / diagnosis*
  • Dementia / complications
  • Dementia / diagnosis*
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / etiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Symptom Assessment