Integrating Biomarkers for Underlying Alzheimer's Disease in Mild Cognitive Impairment in Daily Practice: Comparison of a Clinical Decision Support System with Individual Biomarkers

J Alzheimers Dis. 2016;50(1):261-70. doi: 10.3233/JAD-150548.


Background: Recent criteria allow biomarkers to provide evidence of Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathophysiology. How they should be implemented in daily practice remains unclear, especially in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) patients.

Objective: We evaluated how a clinical decision support system such as the PredictAD tool can aid clinicians to integrate biomarker evidence to support AD diagnosis.

Methods: With available data on demographics, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and MRI, we trained the PredictAD tool on a reference population of 246 controls and 491 AD patients. We then applied the identified algorithm to 211 MCI patients. For comparison, we also classified patients based on individual biomarkers (MRI; CSF) and the NIA-AA criteria. Progression to dementia was used as outcome measure.

Results: After a median follow up of 3 years, 72 (34%) MCI patients remained stable and 139 (66%) progressed to AD. The PredictAD tool assigned a likelihood of underlying AD to each patient (AUC 0.82). Excluding patients with missing data resulted in an AUC of 0.87. According to the NIA-AA criteria, half of the MCI patients had uninformative biomarkers, precluding an assignment of AD likelihood. A minority (41%) was assigned to high or low AD likelihood with good predictive value. The individual biomarkers showed best value for CSF total tau (AUC 0.86).

Conclusion: The ability of the PredictAD tool to identify AD pathophysiology was comparable to individual biomarkers. The PredictAD tool has the advantage that it assigns likelihood to all patients, regardless of missing or conflicting data, allowing clinicians to integrate biomarker data in daily practice.

Keywords: KeywordsAlzheimer’s disease; clinical decision support system; diagnostic test assessment; mild cognitive impairment; prognosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Algorithms
  • Alzheimer Disease / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Area Under Curve
  • Biomarkers / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / pathology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Mental Status Schedule
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Predictive Value of Tests


  • Biomarkers