Raising Awareness of Neuropsychiatric Symptoms in Neurodegenerative Diseases: George Grossberg, MD

The director of Geriatric Psychiatry at the St Louis University School of Medicine discussed the need to improve awareness of the signs of psychiatric-related symptoms and to eliminate the stigmas associated with them. [WATCH TIME: 3 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 3 minutes

"Outside of falls, [neuropsychiatric symptoms] are the No. 1 most common reason why dedicated families who love and take care of their loved one with a neurodegenerative disease throw in the towel and say, ‘I can’t do it anymore.’ Because of the impact of the neuropsychiatric symptoms like psychosis, which can often trigger agitated and even overtly aggressive behaviors."

For patients with neurodegenerative conditions, on top of their typical cognitive impairments, they may suffer from a wide range of neuropsychiatric symptoms, including agitation, irritability and impulsivity, apathy and indifference, and much more. They may demonstrate socially inappropriate behaviors such as changes in eating behavior, or stereotyped behaviors such as pacing, wandering, and rummaging. These symptoms may be underrecognized even though some patients consider them even more impactful than their motor symptoms.

George Grossberg, MD, Samuel W. Fordyce professor and director, Geriatric Psychiatry, St Louis University School of Medicine, has harped on the need for recognition and awareness of neuropsychiatric symptoms. He noted that these can not only cause serious detriment to a patient’s quality of life but are among one of the most distressing symptoms to handle for families and caregivers. Grossberg, an expert in geriatric psychiatry, was a senior author of a recently published paper on using telehealth to manage neurodegenerative conditions, with several aspects of the recommendations tied to things like a team-based approach and asking relevant questions.

In an interview with NeurologyLive®, Grossberg discussed why the clinical community needs to continue to raise the awareness of neuropsychiatric symptoms and the impact they have on patients with neurodegenerative diseases. He highlighted research he previously conducted called the A-B-Cs of neurodegenerative brain diseases, which emphasize activities of daily living, behavior, and cognition.

REFERENCE
1. Shaughnessy L, Brunton S, Chepke C, Farmer JG, Rosenzweig AS, Grossberg G. Using telemedicine to assess and manage psychosis in neurodegenerative diseases in long-term care. J Am Med Dir Assoc. Published online January 12, 2022. doi:10.1016/j.jamda.2021.12.033