Caregiver burden in atypical dementias: comparing frontotemporal dementia, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and Alzheimer's disease

Alice Uflacker, Mary C Edmondson, Chiadi U Onyike, Brian S Appleby
International Psychogeriatrics 2016, 28 (2): 269-73

BACKGROUND: Caregiver burden is a significant issue in the treatment of dementia and a known contributor to institutionalization of patients with dementia. Published data have documented increased caregiver burden in behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) compared to Alzheimer's disease (AD). Another atypical dementia with high-perceived caregiver burden is sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD), but no formal studies have assessed this perception. The aim of this study was to compare caregiver burden across atypical dementia etiologies.

METHODS: 76 adults with atypical dementia (young-onset AD [YOAD], bvFTD, language variant FTD [lvFTD], and sCJD) were administered an abbreviated version of the Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI), Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI-Q), and other assessment instruments during a five-year time period at Johns Hopkins Hospital (JHH). A Cox regression model examined differences between disease categories that impact mean ZBI scores.

RESULTS: Mean ZBI scores were significantly different between dementia etiologies, with bvFTD and sCJD having the highest caregiver burden (p = 0.026). Mean NPI-Q caregiver distress scores were highest in bvFTD and sCJD (p = 0.002), with sCJD and bvFTD also having the highest number of endorsed symptom domains (p = 0.012). On regression analyses, an interactive variable combining final diagnosis category and NPI-Q total severity score demonstrated statistically significant differences in mean ZBI scores for sCJD and bvFTD.

CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that bvFTD and sCJD have increased levels of caregiver burden, NPI-Q caregiver distress, total severity scores, and number of endorsed symptom domains. These results suggest that higher caregiver burden in bvFTD and sCJD are disease specific and possibly related to neuropsychiatric symptoms.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"