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Background: Subjective cognitive impairment (SCI) is a potential early marker for actual cognitive decline. The cognitive manifestation of the SCI stage is, however, largely unknown. Self-report instruments developed especially for use in the SCI population are lacking, and many SCI studies have not excluded mild cognitive impairment and dementia. We developed and tested a patient-based questionnaire on everyday cognitive function aiming to discriminate between patients with subjective, but not objective, cognitive impairment and healthy controls.
Methods: Individuals experiencing cognitive impairment were interviewed to generate a pool of items. After condensing to 97 items, we tested the questionnaire in 93 SCI patients seeking care at a memory clinic (age M = 64.5 years, Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) M = 29.0) and 50 healthy controls (age M = 69.6 years, MMSE M = 29.3). Further item reduction was conducted to maximize that remaining items would discriminate between SCI patients and controls, using a conservative α level and requiring medium to high effect sizes. Internal consistency reliability and convergent validity was subsequently examined.
Results: Forty-five items discriminated between the groups, resulting in the Sahlgrenska Academy Self-reported Cognitive Impairment Questionnaire (SASCI-Q). Internal consistency was high and correlations to a single question on memory functioning were of medium to large sizes. Most remaining items were related to the memory domain.
Conclusion: The SASCI-Q discriminates between SCI patients and healthy controls and demonstrates satisfying psychometric properties. The instrument provides a research method for examining SCI and forms a foundation for future examining which SCI symptoms predict objective cognitive decline. The cognitive manifestation of the SCI stage is mostly related to experiences of memory deficits.
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is regarded as the prodromal stage of dementia disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease (AD).
Objective: To compare the neuropsychological profiles of MCI subjects with normal concentrations of total tau (T-τ) and Aβ42 in CSF (MCI-norm) to MCI subjects with deviating concentrations of the biomarkers (MCI-dev). MCI-norm (N = 73) and MCI-dev (N = 73) subjects were compared to normal controls (N = 50) on tests of speed/attention, memory, visuospatial function, language and executive function.
Results: MCI-norm performed overall better than MCI-dev, specifically on tests of speed and attention and episodic memory. When MCI-dev subjects were subclassified into those with only high T-tau (MCI-tau), only low Aβ42 (MCI-Aβ) and both high T-tau and low Aβ42 (MCI-tauAβ), MCI-tauAβ tended to perform slightly worse. MCI-tau and MCI-Aβ performed quite similarly.
Conclusions: Considering the neuropsychological differences, many MCI-norm probably had more benign forms of MCI, or early non-AD forms of neurodegenerative disorders. Although most MCI-dev performed clearly worse than MCI-norm on the neuropsychological battery, some did not show any deficits when compared to age norms. A combination of CSF analyses and neuropsychology could be a step toward a more exact diagnosis of MCI as prodromal AD. (JINS, 2008, 14, 582–590.)
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