Background: Higher mild cognitive impairment (MCI) prognostic variability has been related to sample characteristics (community-based or specialized clinic) and to diverse operationalization criteria. The aim of the study was to evaluate the trajectory of MCI of Alzheimer type in a population-based elderly cohort in Southern Brazil. We also estimated the risk for the development of probable Alzheimer's disease (AD) in comparison with healthy subjects.
Methods: Data were derived from a population-based cohort (the PALA study). MCI outcomes were sub-classified into three categories: conversion, stabilization, and reconversion. The risk of progression to dementia was compared between MCI and normal participants. The analysis was based on 21 MCI subjects and 220 cognitively intact participants (N = 241).
Results: Of the 21 MCI subjects, 38% developed dementia, 24% remained stable and 38% improved. The MCI annual conversion rate to AD was 8.5%. MCI was associated with significantly higher risk of conversion to AD (HR = 49.83, p = 0.004), after adjustment for age, education, sex and Mini-Mental State Examination score.
Conclusions: Independent of the heterogeneity of the outcomes, MCI of the Alzheimer type participants showed significantly higher risk of developing probable AD, demonstrating the impact of the use of these MCI criteria that emphasize long-term episodic memory impairment.