Subtype of mild cognitive impairment and progression to dementia and death

Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2006;22(4):312-9. doi: 10.1159/000095427. Epub 2006 Aug 28.


Background: Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) represents a common cognitive state between normal cognitive aging and dementia. There is limited information about the heterogeneity of MCI and how this heterogeneity may influence the clinical course of MCI. We determined the longitudinal course of subtypes of MCI and assessed the rate of progression to dementia and to death.

Methods: As part of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Centers of California, we studied 327 patients with MCI (250 with amnestic MCI, 34 with single nonmemory MCI, and 43 with multiple domain MCI) who were followed longitudinally. We determined if subtype of MCI was independently associated with time to dementia diagnosis and time to death using Cox proportional hazard models, and type of dementia using Fisher's exact test.

Results: Mean age of the patients with MCI was 72.9 +/- 9.3 years and mean Mini-Mental State Examination score was 25.7 +/- 4.3. After a mean follow-up of 3.1 years, 199 (65%) progressed to dementia and 80 (24%) died. After multivariate adjustment, compared to those with amnestic MCI, patients with single nonmemory or multiple subtype MCI were less likely to receive a diagnosis of dementia (HR = 0.60; 95% CI 0.35-1.05 and HR = 0.71; 95% CI 0.44-1.14) but more likely to die (HR = 2.57; 95% CI 1.13-5.84 and HR = 1.73; 95% CI 0.72-4.18), but these results were of borderline statistical significance. There were significant differences in the type of dementia diagnosed across MCI subtypes (p = 0.006). Among the patients who progressed to Alzheimer's disease, 76% had prior amnestic MCI; of the patients who progressed to vascular dementia, 50% had prior amnestic MCI; all patients who progressed to a frontal dementia syndrome had single nonmemory MCI previously.

Conclusions: The majority of patients with MCI progressed to dementia and a significant proportion died. Subtype of MCI may influence rates of progression to death and to dementia and has a major influence on subsequent type of dementia diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology*
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Dementia / psychology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Survival Analysis