Hamilton Depression Scale in dementia

Semion G. Kertzman, Ilan A. Treves, Therese A. Treves, M. Vainder, Amos D. Korczyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION: Wide variations in frequency of depression in primary degenerative dementia (PDD) and in vascular dementia (VD) have been reported. This may perhaps be due to inadequacy of common diagnostic tools in detecting depression in the face of cognitive decline. We evaluated here the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) in demented patients with PDD and VD. METHODS: We examined 50 consecutive patients with PDD and 50 consecutive patients with VD. All patients underwent neurological examination and their depression was evaluated using DSM-III-R criteria and the HDRS. The data obtained were analysed for distribution of depression and pattern of responses obtained in the HDRS. Sensitivity, specificity and Youden's J-indices for different cut-off scores of the HDRS in its ability to detect depression in this population were calculated. RESULTS: Dementia was associated with depression in 38% of the patients (DSM-III-R criteria). HDRS scores were higher in depressed patients (z=-5.7, P < 0.0001) with an HDRS cut-off score of 10 being indicative of depression in demented patients. Symptoms related to 'affective' components of the HDRS (such as depressive mood and anxiety) were strongly associated with the diagnosis of depression (Mann-Whitney tests, P < 0.0001). CONCLUSION: Depression is frequent in demented patients. The HDRS has good criterion validity in the evaluation of depression in demented patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-94
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002


  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Depression
  • Hamilton Depression Rating Scale
  • Primary degenerative dementia
  • Vascular dementia


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