Clinical features of Alzheimer's disease

H. Förstl, A. Kurz

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

287 Scopus citations


The preclinical stage of Alzheimer's disease is inconspicuous and there are - almost by definition - no reliable and valid symptoms and signs which would allow a very early diagnosis before the manifestation of irreversible deficits. For a clinical diagnosis of dementia, cognitive impairment has to be severe enough to compromise the activities of daily living. In the mild dementia stage, difficulties with declarative memory are usually prominent; depressive symptoms are not infrequent, but the patient usually manages to live alone. Supervision is needed in the moderate dementia stage, when other cognitive domains are affected in a more obvious manner and non-cognitive disturbances of thought, perception, affect, and behavior put increasing stress on the caregivers. Complete dependence of the patients, who frequently develop neurological disturbances, is typical of the late stage of illness. The life expectancy of patients with a clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease is significantly reduced, but to date there is hope that the period of relative wellbeing and not of suffering can be prolonged with modern symptomatic treatment interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288-290
Number of pages3
JournalEuropean Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • ADL-activities of daily living
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Clinical symptoms
  • Dementia


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