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Cognitive predictors for five-year conversion to dementia in community-dwelling Chinese older adults

  • Candy H. Y. Wong (a1), Grace T. Y. Leung (a1), Ada W. T. Fung (a2), W. C. Chan (a3) and Linda C. W. Lam (a2)...


Background: This study evaluates which cognitive measure is best for predicting incident dementia in a population-based random sample of Chinese older adults without dementia over a five-year period.

Methods: A total of 787 community-dwelling Chinese older adults without dementia in Hong Kong were assessed at baseline (T0), at two years (T1), and at five years (T2).

Results: The annual conversion rate to dementia was 1.6% and 6.3% for baseline normal participants and baseline mild cognitive impairment (MCI) participants, respectively. The Cantonese version of Mini-mental State Examination (CMMSE) scores declined significantly over time. In participants who progressed to dementia, Category Verbal Fluency Test (CVFT) scores dropped significantly from T0 to T1. A 1-SD drop of either CMMSE or CVFT in two years predicted dementia at five years with 91.5% sensitivity and 62.0% specificity. A stable CMMSE and CVFT at two years predicted a 91% chance of not progressing to clinical dementia at five years.

Conclusion: In this community sample of Chinese older adults, a decline in cognitive screening tests in short term (two years) offered useful information in predicting dementia conversion over a longer period.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Dr Candy H. Y. Wong, Department of Psychiatry, Tai Po Hospital, 9 Chuen On Road, Tai Po, N. T., Hong Kong. Phone: +(852) 26076026. Email:


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