Neuropsychiatric symptoms and cognitive profile in mild cognitive impairment with Lewy bodies

Psychol Med. 2018 Oct;48(14):2384-2390. doi: 10.1017/S0033291717003956. Epub 2018 Jan 24.


Background: The accurate clinical characterisation of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is becoming increasingly important. The aim of this study was to compare the neuropsychiatric symptoms and cognitive profile of MCI with Lewy bodies (MCI-LB) with Alzheimer's disease MCI (MCI-AD).

Methods: Participants were ⩾60 years old with MCI. Each had a thorough clinical and neuropsychological assessment and 2β-carbomethoxy-3β-(4-iodophenyl)-N-(3-fluoropropyl)-nortropane single photon emission computed tomography FP-CIT SPECT). MCI-LB was diagnosed if two or more diagnostic features of dementia with Lewy bodies were present (visual hallucinations, cognitive fluctuations, motor parkinsonism, rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder or positive FP-CIT SPECT). A Lewy body Neuropsychiatric Supportive Symptom Count (LBNSSC) was calculated based on the presence or absence of the supportive neuropsychiatric symptoms defined by the 2017 DLB diagnostic criteria: non-visual hallucinations, delusions, anxiety, depression and apathy.

Results: MCI-LB (n = 41) had a higher LBNSSC than MCI-AD (n = 24; 1.8 ± 1.1 v. 0.7 ± 0.9, p = 0.001). 67% of MCI-LB had two or more of those symptoms, compared with 16% of MCI-AD (Likelihood ratio = 4.2, p < 0.001). MCI-LB subjects scored lower on tests of attention, visuospatial function and verbal fluency. However, cognitive test scores alone did not accurately differentiate MCI-LB from MCI-AD.

Conclusions: MCI-LB is associated with neuropsychiatric symptoms and a cognitive profile similar to established DLB. This supports the concept of identifying MCI-LB based on the presence of core diagnostic features of DLB and abnormal FP-CIT SPECT imaging. The presence of supportive neuropsychiatric clinical features identified in the 2017 DLB diagnostic criteria was helpful in differentiating between MCI-LB and MCI-AD.

Keywords: Dementia with Lewy bodies; mild cognitive impairment; neuropsychiatric symptoms; neuropsychology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease* / diagnostic imaging
  • Alzheimer Disease* / metabolism
  • Alzheimer Disease* / physiopathology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction* / diagnostic imaging
  • Cognitive Dysfunction* / metabolism
  • Cognitive Dysfunction* / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lewy Bodies / metabolism*
  • Lewy Body Disease* / diagnostic imaging
  • Lewy Body Disease* / metabolism
  • Lewy Body Disease* / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon
  • Tropanes


  • Tropanes
  • 2-carbomethoxy-8-(3-fluoropropyl)-3-(4-iodophenyl)tropane