Alzheimer's Association International Conference
Alzheimer's Association International Conference
August 03, 2016
2 min read

New symptom checklist may support earlier Alzheimer's diagnosis

You've successfully added to your alerts. You will receive an email when new content is published.

Click Here to Manage Email Alerts

We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact

Researchers presenting at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2016 in Toronto, introduced a new condition known as Mild Behavioral Impairment, described as a potential forerunner of neurodegeneration and progression to mild cognitive impairment.

In addition, the researchers, led by Zahinoor Ismail, MD, of the University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine, proposed a new checklist for Mild Behavioral Impairment (MBI)that would be administered by physicians and focus on five categories of behavioral symptoms. The checklist, called MBI-C, may help clinicians measure changes in behavior that could signal the beginnings of neurodegeneration.

According to the researchers, MBI is a syndrome of later-life acquired neuropsychiatric symptoms that are sustained for at least 6 months. Symptoms displayed as part of MBI, which are also included on the checklist, center on five domains: Apathy, drive and motivation; mood, affect and anxiety; impulse, control, agitation and reward; social appropriateness; and thoughts and perception.

“We propose that the utility of the MBI-C — once it is refined and vetted by the Alzheimer’s community — is significant not only clinically, but also in research,” Ismail said in a press release. “In addition, we may be able to create or derive a version that can be provided to family members of older adults to determine the nature and extent of neuropsychiatric symptoms and to measure changes over time. From a research perspective, the scale may prove to be usable in biomarker and neuroimaging studies in pre-dementia clinical states, in epidemiological studies of community samples, and in clinical sample observational studies to help assess the impact of [neuropsychiatric symptoms] in older adults.”

The researchers designed the checklist specifically to address a younger, pre-dementia population, emphasizing that the emergence of neuropsychiatric symptoms represented a significant change from prior behavior.

“This proposed new checklist describes and helps identify a new clinical stage in the disease and has the potential to represent a paradigm shift in formal neurodegeneration testing — away from a sole focus on the memory to also encompass behavior,” Maria C. Carrillo, PhD, chief science officer of the Alzheimer’s Association, said in a press release. “By looking beyond memory-related issues to closely evaluate the behavioral issues included in the checklist, physicians could reach a more efficient and accurate diagnosis sooner.” – by Jason Laday

Disclosure: Healio Family Medicine could not confirm researchers’ relevant financial disclosures.


Ismail Z, et al. Abstract O1-13-03. Presented at AAIC 2016; July 22-28, 2016; Toronto.