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Diurnal variation of cortisol in people with dementia: relationship to cognition and illness burden. Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen 2011 Mar;26(2):145-50 PMID: 21273205 PMCID: PMC3060946

Pubmed ID





Cortisol patterns in nursing home residents with dementia are described and examined in relation to cognition and comorbid illnesses. Saliva was sampled 4 times in a 24-hour period (week 1) and at the same times 1 week later (week 2). In general, cortisol levels decreased from morning to evening, with 50% exhibiting a negative slope. In contrast, 38% of the participants had a relatively flat cortisol diurnal rhythm, and 7% exhibited an afternoon increase. The cortisol pattern was consistent between weeks 1 and 2 for 39% with a negative slope, 13% with a flat profile, and for 2% with an afternoon increase pattern. Cortisol rhythm was not statistically significantly related to cognition or illness burden. While this study contributes to the understanding of differences in the diurnal pattern of cortisol for older adults with dementia, more research is needed to understand the etiology of the differences and the biological mechanisms involved.

Author List

Kovach CR, Woods DL, Logan BR, Raff H


Brent R. Logan PhD Director, Professor in the Institute for Health and Equity department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Hershel Raff PhD Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Circadian Rhythm
Cost of Illness
Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System
Pituitary-Adrenal System
jenkins-FCD Prod-321 98992d628744e349846c2f62ac68f241d7e1ea70