To perform a meta-analysis of clinical studies on the differences in treatment or research decision-making capacity among patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and healthy comparisons (HCs).
A systematic search was conducted on Medline/Pubmed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Web of Science, and Scopus. Standardized mean differences and random-effects model were used in all cases.
The United States, France, Japan, and China.
Four hundred and ten patients with MCI, 149 with AD, and 368 HCs were included.
The studies we included in the analysis assessed decisional capacity to consent by the MacArthur Competence Assessment Tool for Treatment (MAcCAT-T), MacArthur Competence Assessment Tool for Clinical Research (MacCAT-CR), Capacity to Consent to Treatment Instrument (CCTI), and University of California Brief Assessment of Capacity to Consent (UBACC).
We identified 109 potentially eligible studies from 1672 records, and 7 papers were included in the meta-analysis. The meta-analysis showed that there was significant impairment in a decision-making capacity in MCI patients compared to the HCs group in terms of Understanding (SMD = −1.04, 95% CI: −1.31 to −0.77, P < 0.001; I2 = 52%, P = 0.07), Appreciation (SMD = −0.51, 95% CI: −0.66 to −0.36, P < 0.001; I2 = 0%, P = 0.97), and Reasoning (SMD = −0.62, 95% CI: −0.77, −0.47, P < 0.001; I2=0%, P =0.46). MCI patients scored significantly higher in Understanding (SMD = 1.50, 95% CI: 0.91, 2.09, P = 0.01, I2 = 78%, P = 0.00001) compared to patients affected by AD.
Patients affected by MCI are at higher risk of impaired capacity to consent to treatment and research compared to HCs, despite being at lower risk compared to patients affected by AD. Clinicians and researchers need to carefully evaluate decisional capacity in MCI patients providing informed consent.