Objective: Subjective memory complaints (SMCs) are associated with an increased incidence of dementia, but changes in SMCs have received little investigation. This study aimed to investigate the prospective association between change in self-reported memory and incident dementia in a community sample.
Method: Korean residents aged 65+ without dementia were followed over a 2.4-year period (N = 686). SMCs were ascertained on both occasions using the Geriatric Mental State schedule. Incident dementia was ascertained at follow up, applying Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition criteria.
Results: Compared with those without SMCs on either occasion, dementia incidence was higher in those with persistent SMCs (present on both occasions) and transient SMCs (present at baseline but not follow up). There was no association with new onset of SMCs during follow up. The association with transient SMCs was weakened when those with cognitive impairment at baseline were excluded.
Conclusions: Incident dementia is associated with memory complaints that persist or disappear but not with new complaints.