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Recent studies have tried to find a reliable way of predicting the development of Alzheimer´s Disease (AD) among patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), often focusing on olfactory dysfunction or semantic memory. Our study aimed to validate these findings while also comparing the predictive accuracy of olfactory and semantic assessments for this purpose.
Six hundred fifty patients (median age 68, 58% females) including controls, SCD (subjective cognitive decline), non-amnestic MCI (naMCI), amnestic MCI (aMCI), and AD patients were tested for olfactory dysfunction by means of odor identification testing and semantic memory. Of those 650 patients, 120 participants with SCD, naMCI, or aMCI at baseline underwent a follow-up examination after two years on average. Of these 120 patients, 12% had developed AD at follow-up (converters), while 88% did not develop AD at follow-up (non-converters).
Analysis showed a significant difference only for initial olfactory identification between converters and non-converters. Sensitivity of impairment of olfactory identification for AD prediction was low at 46.2%, although specificity was high at 81.9%. Semantic memory impairment at baseline was not significantly related to AD conversion, although, when naming objects, significant differences were found between AD patients and all other groups and between naMCI and aMCI patients compared to controls and SCD patients.
Objective olfactory assessments are promising instruments for predicting the conversion to AD among MCI patients. However, due to their low sensitivity and high specificity, a combination with other neuropsychological tests might lead to an improved predictive accuracy. Further longitudinal studies with more participants are required to investigate the usefulness of semantic memory tests in this case.
Semantic memory may be impaired in clinically recognized states of cognitive impairment. We investigated the relationship between semantic memory and depressive symptoms (DS) in patients with cognitive impairment.
323 cognitively healthy controls and 848 patients with subjective cognitive decline (SCD), mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and Alzheimer's disease (AD) dementia were included. Semantic knowledge for famous faces, world capitals, and word vocabulary was investigated.
Compared to healthy controls, we found a statistically significant difference of semantic knowledge in the MCI groups and the AD group, respectively. Results of the SCD group were mixed. However, two of the three semantic memory measures (world capitals and word vocabulary) showed a significant association with DS.
We found a difference in semantic memory performance in MCI and AD as well as an association with DS. Results suggest that the difference in semantic memory is due to a storage loss rather than to a retrieval problem.
Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) is an important issue in the context of dementia care. The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between HRQOL and depressive symptoms in patients with subjective cognitive decline (SCD) and subtypes of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer´s disease (AD).
In this cross-sectional, observational study, a control group and four experimental groups (SCD, non-amnestic MCI, amnesticMCI, AD) were compared. Neuropsychological measurers (NTBV) and psychological questionnaires were used for data collection.
The control group scored higher than patients with SCD, naMCI, aMCI, or AD for the Mental Health Component Score (MHCS) of the Short Form of the Health Survey (SF-36). The Physical Health Component Score (PHCS) of the SF-36 differed only between some groups. Furthermore, cognitive variables were more strongly associated with the physical aspects of HRQOL, whereas depressive symptoms were more strongly related with the mental aspects of HRQOL.
HRQOL and depressive symptoms are closely related in patients with cognitive impairments. Therefore, it is of great importance to assess patients with subjective impairment carefully in terms of depressive symptoms.
Impairments in facial emotion recognition (FER) have been detected in patients with Parkinson disease (PD). Presently, we aim at assessing differences in emotion recognition performance in PD patient groups with and without mild forms of cognitive impairment (MCI) compared to healthy controls.
Performance on a concise emotion recognition test battery (VERT-K) of three groups of 97 PD patients was compared with an age-equivalent sample of 168 healthy controls. Patients were categorized into groups according to two well-established classifications of MCI according to Petersen's (cognitively intact vs. amnestic MCI, aMCI, vs. non-amnestic MCI, non-aMCI) and Litvan's (cognitively intact vs. single-domain MCI, sMCI, vs. multi-domain MCI, mMCI) criteria. Patients and controls underwent individual assessments using a comprehensive neuropsychological test battery examining attention, executive functioning, language, and memory (Neuropsychological Test Battery Vienna, NTBV), the Beck Depression Inventory, and a measure of premorbid IQ (WST).
Cognitively intact PD patients and patients with MCI in PD (PD-MCI) showed significantly worse emotion recognition performance when compared to healthy controls. Between-groups effect sizes were substantial, showing non-trivial effects in all comparisons (Cohen's ds from 0.31 to 1.22). Moreover, emotion recognition performance was higher in women, positively associated with premorbid IQ and negatively associated with age. Depressive symptoms were not related to FER.
The present investigation yields further evidence for impaired FER in PD. Interestingly, our data suggest FER deficits even in cognitively intact PD patients indicating FER dysfunction prior to the development of overt cognitive dysfunction. Age showed a negative association whereas IQ showed a positive association with FER.
Deficits in facial emotion recognition (FER) have been shown to substantially impair several aspects in everyday life of affected individuals (e.g. social functioning). Presently, we aim at assessing differences in emotion recognition performance in three patient groups suffering from mild forms of cognitive impairment compared to healthy controls.
Performance on a concise emotion recognition test battery (VERT-K) of 68 patients with subjective cognitive decline (SCD), 44 non-amnestic (non-aMCI), and 25 amnestic patients (aMCI) with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) was compared with an age-equivalent sample of 138 healthy controls all of which were recruited within the framework of the Vienna Conversion to Dementia Study. Additionally, patients and controls underwent individual assessment using a comprehensive neuropsychological test battery examining attention, executive functioning, language, and memory (NTBV), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and a measure of premorbid IQ (WST).
Type of diagnosis showed a significant effect on emotion recognition performance, indicating progressively deteriorating results as severity of diagnosis increased. Between-groups effect sizes were substantial, showing non-trivial effects in all comparisons (Cohen's ds from −0.30 to −0.83) except for SCD versus controls. Moreover, emotion recognition performance was higher in women and positively associated with premorbid IQ.
Our findings indicate substantial effects of progressive neurological damage on emotion recognition in patients. Importantly, emotion recognition deficits were observable in non-amnestic patients as well, thus conceivably suggesting associations between decreased recognition performance and global cognitive decline. Premorbid IQ appears to act as protective factor yielding lesser deficits in patients showing higher IQs.
The goals of this study were to establish prevalence of subjective memory complaints (SMC) and depressive symptoms (DS) and their relation to cognitive functioning and cognitive status in an outpatient memory clinic cohort.
Two hundred forty-eight cognitively healthy controls and 581 consecutive patients with cognitive complaints who fulfilled the inclusion criteria were included in the study.
A statistically significant difference (p < 0.001) between control group and patient group regarding mean SMC was detected. 7.7% of controls reported a considerable degree of SMC, whereas 35.8% of patients reported considerable SMC. Additionally, a statistically significant difference (p < 0.001) between controls and patient group regarding Beck depression score was detected. 16.6% of controls showed a clinical relevant degree of DS, whereas 48.5% of patients showed DS. An analysis of variance revealed a statistically significant difference across all four groups (control group, SCI group, naMCI group, aMCI group) (p < 0.001). Whereas 8% of controls reported a considerable degree of SMC, 34% of the SCI group, 31% of the naMCI group, and 54% of the aMCI group reported considerable SMC. A two-factor analysis of variance with the factors cognitive status (controls, SCI group, naMCI group, aMCI group) and depressive status (depressed vs. not depressed) and SMC as dependent variable revealed that both factors were significant (p < 0.001), whereas the interaction was not (p = 0.820).
A large proportion of patients seeking help in a memory outpatient clinic report considerable SMC, with an increasing degree from cognitively healthy elderly to aMCI. Depressive status increases SMC consistently across groups with different cognitive status.
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