UMMS Affiliation

Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center; Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Nervous System | Nervous System Diseases | Physiological Processes | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


We sought to determine whether skin conductance level could warn of outbursts of combative behavior in dementia patients by using a wristband device. Two outbursts were captured and are reported here. Although no physiologic parameter measured by the wristband gave advance warning, there is a common pattern of parasympathetic withdrawal (increased heart rate) followed approximately 30 seconds later by sympathetic activation (increased skin conductance). In the literature, a similar pattern occurs in psychogenic non-epileptic seizures. We hypothesize that similar autonomic responses reflect similarities in pathophysiology and that physical activity may partially account for the time course of skin conductance.


Autonomic nervous system, dementia, galvanic skin response, heart rate, non-epileptic seizures

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© 2021 – The authors. Published by IOS Press. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (CC BY-NC 4.0).

DOI of Published Version



Deutsch CK, Patnaik PP, Greco FA. Is There a Characteristic Autonomic Response During Outbursts of Combative Behavior in Dementia Patients? J Alzheimers Dis Rep. 2021 May 4;5(1):389-394. doi: 10.3233/ADR-210007. PMID: 34189410; PMCID: PMC8203282. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of Alzheimer's disease reports

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License