Importance of subtle amnestic and nonamnestic deficits in mild cognitive impairment: prognosis and conversion to dementia

Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2007;24(6):476-82. doi: 10.1159/000110800. Epub 2007 Nov 8.


Background/aims: To evaluate baseline characteristics and conversion to dementia in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) subtypes.

Methods: We prospectively evaluated conversion to dementia in 106 patients with amnestic MCI (A-MCI) as defined by Petersen's operationalized criteria on a paragraph recall task, amnestic-subthreshold MCI (AS-MCI) as defined by impairment on the ADAS-cog delayed word list recall with normal paragraph recall, nonamnestic MCI (NA-MCI) defined by a nonmemory domain, and in 27 patients with subjective memory loss who had no deficit on formal neuropsychological testing.

Results: For all MCI subtypes, the 4-year conversion to dementia was 56% (14% annually) and to AD was 46% (11% annually). Conversion to AD in the A-MCI (56%) was similar to the rate in AS-MCI (50%). Conversion to AD in the A-MCI and AS-MCI combined was 56% (14% annually). Conversion to dementia in the NA-MCI was 52% (13% annually) and the majority converted to AD (62%).

Conclusions: All MCI subtypes are at risk of converting to AD if the groups are carefully defined by an abnormal psychometric domain. All subtypes except subjective memory loss converted to AD at higher than expected rates. Both the A-MCI and AS-MCI subtypes had a similarly high rate of conversion to AD. The deficit on a word list recall task may develop before an abnormality on delayed paragraph recall is evident, at least in some subjects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Amnesia / diagnosis*
  • Amnesia / epidemiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Dementia / diagnosis*
  • Dementia / epidemiology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychometrics
  • Severity of Illness Index