Suicidal ideation is common in autosomal dominant Alzheimer's disease at-risk persons

Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2020 Jan;35(1):60-68. doi: 10.1002/gps.5215. Epub 2019 Oct 22.


Objectives: To study the frequency of suicidal ideation and its association with clinical and neurobiological correlates among cognitively intact autosomal dominant Alzheimer's disease (ADAD) at-risk individuals.

Methods/design: In a cross-sectional study of 183 ADAD at-risk individuals (91 mutation carriers and 92 noncarriers), we compared the frequency of suicidal ideation among carriers and noncarriers. Linear mixed-effects models with family-level random effects evaluated the relationships between geriatric depression scale (GDS), neuropsychiatric inventory-questionnaire (NPI-Q), and suicidal ideation scores among all ADAD at-risk individuals. An interaction term was added to the regression models to evaluate the interactions of suicidal ideation and mutation status on neuropsychiatric symptoms.

Results: Twenty-six (14.20%) ADAD at-risk individuals (13 [14.28%] carriers and 13 [14.13%] noncarriers) had suicidal ideation. The frequency of suicidal ideation did not differ between carriers and noncarriers. Suicidal ideation was associated with higher GDS among all ADAD at-risk individuals. When stratified into mutation carrier status, noncarriers with suicidal ideation had higher GDS than carriers. There was no statistically significant association between suicidal ideation and NPI-Q among ADAD at-risk individuals. Awareness of mutation status, neuropsychological performances, and cerebrospinal fluid AD biomarkers were not associated with suicidal ideation among carriers and noncarriers.

Conclusions: Suicidal ideation is common among cognitively intact ADAD at-risk individuals. While ADAD at-risk individuals with suicidal ideation have greater depressive symptoms, noncarriers with suicidal ideation have higher GDS scores than carriers. Interestingly, awareness of the mutation status was not associated with suicidal ideation in our study. Early identification of suicidal thoughts can facilitate timely interventions to prevent suicidal behaviours. Keywords autosomal dominant Alzheimer's diseasedominantly inherited Alzheimer's networkneuropsychiatric symptomssuicidal ideation.

Keywords: autosomal dominant Alzheimer's disease; dominantly inherited Alzheimer' network; neuropsychiatric symptoms; suicidal ideation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics*
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Risk Assessment
  • Suicidal Ideation*