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Vol. 38, No. 1-2, 2014
Issue release date: July 2014
Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 2014;38:16-30

Emergence of Mild Cognitive Impairment in Late Middle-Aged Adults in the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer's Prevention

Koscik R.L. · La Rue A. · Jonaitis E.M. · Okonkwo O.C. · Johnson S.C. · Bendlin B.B. · Hermann B.P. · Sager M.A.
aDepartment of Medicine, Wisconsin Alzheimer's Institute, bWisconsin Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, and cDepartment of Neurology, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wis., USA

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Aim: It is difficult to reliably detect the earliest signs of Alzheimer's disease (AD)-associated cognitive impairment. Our aim was to compare 3 psychometric methods of identifying amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) in a middle-aged longitudinal cohort enriched for AD risk. Methods: Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer's Prevention (WRAP) participants with 3 waves of cognitive assessment over approximately 6 years were coded as meeting each of 3 psychometric aMCI definitions: (a) ‘aMCI standard-baseline' used published norms to establish cutoffs for baseline performance; (b) ‘aMCI robust-baseline' applied WRAP-specific robust norms to baseline, and (c) ‘aMCI robust-multiwave' applied these robust norms across 3 waves of assessment. Each group was compared to a cognitively healthy subset. Results: Half the aMCI standard-baseline and one third of the aMCI robust-baseline group reverted to normal ranges at follow-up. Only the aMCI robust-multiwave method had an aMCI × age interaction showing significantly worse age-related memory declines in the aMCI group compared to the cognitively healthy group over 6 years of follow-up. Conclusion: Both cross-sectional methods showed instability over time, with many reverting to normal performance after baseline. The multiwave approach identified a group who showed progressive memory declines over 3 visits. Being able to detect progressive decline in late middle age is a critical step in improving prevention efforts. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel

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