Vol. 28, No. 2, 2009
Issue release date: September 2009
Free Access
Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 2009;28:95–109
Review Article
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Subjective Memory Complaints and Awareness of Memory Functioning in Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Systematic Review

Roberts J.L. · Clare L. · Woods R.T.
Bangor University, Bangor, UK
email Corresponding Author

 goto top of outline Key Words

  • Anosognosia
  • Insight
  • Dementia
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Metamemory
  • Self-knowledge
  • Self-report

 goto top of outline Abstract

Objectives: Subjective memory complaint (SMC) is central to the diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI). People with MCI are at a higher risk of progressing to dementia, and research on SMC is contradictory in terms of the accuracy of SMC and its predictive role for future dementia. One possible reason for these contradictory findings is that the level of awareness of memory function may vary among people with MCI. This review examines whether the level of awareness of memory functioning varies amongst people classified as having MCI and whether there is support for the suggestion that the level of awareness in MCI predicts future progression to dementia. Method: Sixteen studies were identified which evaluate the awareness level in people classified as having MCI in either a clinical or research setting. In addition to the outcome of each study, the conceptualization of awareness, ‘object’ of awareness and methodology were also considered. Results: There is evidence to show that the level of awareness in MCI does vary, and this may have implications for future progression to dementia. Conclusions: Given the increased risk of progression to dementia for those identified as having MCI, the role of awareness should be explored further with due consideration given to the conceptualisation of awareness and the methodology employed. The finding of variability in awareness has implications for the use of SMC in the diagnostic criteria for MCI.

Copyright © 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel

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 goto top of outline Author Contacts

Prof. Linda Clare
School of Psychology, Bangor University
Bangor LL57 2AS (UK)
Tel. +44 1248 388 178, Fax +44 1248 382 599, E-Mail l.clare@bangor.ac.uk

 goto top of outline Article Information

Accepted: April 27, 2009
Published online: August 13, 2009
Number of Print Pages : 15
Number of Figures : 0, Number of Tables : 2, Number of References : 73

 goto top of outline Publication Details

Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders

Vol. 28, No. 2, Year 2009 (Cover Date: September 2009)

Journal Editor: Chan-Palay V. (New York, N.Y.)
ISSN: 1420-8008 (Print), eISSN: 1421-9824 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/DEM

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