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Relationship between neuropsychiatric disorders and cognitive and behavioural change in MND

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    Rights statement: This article has been accepted for publication in "Neurodegeneration", 2019., following peer review, and the version of record can be accessed online at: https://jnnp.bmj.com/content/early/2019/12/23/jnnp-2019-321737

    Accepted author manuscript, 600 KB, PDF document

    Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution Non-Commercial (CC-BY-NC)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-253
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry
Issue number3
Early online date23 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2020


Objective: In this population-based study, we aimed to determine whether neuropsychiatric history, medication or family history of neuropsychiatric disorders predicted cognitive and/or behavioural impairment in motor neuron disease (MND).

Methods: People with MND (pwMND) on the Scottish Clinical, Audit, Research and Evaluation of MND (CARE-MND) register, diagnosed from January 2015 to January 2018, with cognitive and/or behavioural data measured using the Edinburgh Cognitive and Behavioural ALS Screen were included. Data were extracted on patient neuropsychiatric, medication and family history of neuropsychiatric disorders. We identified patients with cognitive impairment (motor neuron disease with cognitive impairment (MNDci)), behavioural impairment (motor neuron disease with behavioural impairment (MNDbi), both (motor neuron disease with cognitive and behavioural impairment (MNDcbi)) or motor neuron disease–frontotemporal dementia (MND-FTD).

Results: Data were available for 305 pwMND (mean age at diagnosis=62.26 years, SD=11.40), of which 60 (19.7%) had a neuropsychiatric disorder. A family history of neuropsychiatric disorders was present in 36/231 (15.58%) of patients. Patient premorbid mood disorders were associated with increased apathy (OR=2.78, 95% CI 1.083 to 7.169). A family history of any neuropsychiatric disorder was associated with poorer visuospatial scores, MNDbi (OR=3.14, 95% CI 1.09 to 8.99) and MND-FTD (OR=5.08, 95% CI 1.26 to 20.40). A family history of mood disorders was associated with poorer overall cognition (exp(b)=0.725, p=0.026), language, verbal fluency and visuospatial scores, and MND-FTD (OR=7.57, 95% CI 1.55 to 46.87). A family history of neurotic disorders was associated with poorer language (exp(b)=0.362, p<0.001), visuospatial scores (exp(b)=0.625, p<0.009) and MND-FTD (OR=13.75, 95% CI 1.71 to 110.86).

Conclusion: Neuropsychiatric disorders in patients and their families are associated with cognitive and behavioural changes post-MND diagnosis, with many occurring independently of MND-FTD and C9orf72 status. These findings support an overlap between MND, frontotemporal dementia and neuropsychiatric disorders, particularly mood disorders.

    Research areas

  • neuropsychiatric disorders, cognition, behaviour, motor neurone disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, frontotemporal dementia

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