AD is characterized by a number of behavioral disturbances beyond cognitive function, particularly in the mid- to late stages of the disease. These include sleep disturbances, depression, wandering, and aggressiveness, which are frequently the cause of nursing home placement. These are conditions that also occur in the absence of AD symptoms. There is some question as to whether they are different in the presence and absence of dementia. This is an area in which better therapeutics could make a significant impact on quality of life for the patient and the caregivers. These behavioral problems are currently addressed by add-on medications, but the effects are somewhat different than in nondemented subjects. This topic is outside the scope of this review.
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