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.