Specific Features of Subjective Cognitive Decline Predict Faster Conversion to Mild Cognitive Impairment

J Alzheimers Dis. 2016 Mar 8;52(1):271-81. doi: 10.3233/JAD-150956.


Background: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a silent disorder that needs the earliest possible intervention in order to reduce its high economic and social impact. It has been recently suggested that subjective cognitive decline (SCD) appears at preclinical stages many years before the onset of AD. Therefore, SCD could become an ideal target for early therapeutic intervention.

Objective: The goal of this study was to evaluate the clinical significance of SCD on the conversion from a cognitively healthy stage to a mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in one-year follow-up.

Methods: A total of 608 cognitively intact individuals from the Vallecas Project's cohort, a community-based prospective study to identify early markers of AD, were enrolled in this study. Participants were classified in three groups: i) No Complaints (NCg), ii) Subjects with complaints in one or more cognitive domains (SCDg), and iii) Subjects who, besides complaints, fulfilled the features of SCD Plus proposed by the International Working Group of SCD (SCD-Pg).

Results: Individuals were followed up for a mean of 13.1 months (range 10.7-22.4). During this time, 41 volunteers developed MCI (6.7% of total sample). The conversion rate for SCD-Pg (18.9%) was significantly higher than SCDg (5.6%) and NCg (4.9%).

Conclusion: Specific features associated with SCD may help to identify individuals at high risk of fast conversion to MCI. These results highlight the importance of a close follow-up of subjects with SCD-P and include them in early intervention programs because of their increased risk for the development of MCI.

Keywords: Aging, Alzheimer’s disease; cognitive symptoms; dementia; mild cognitive impairment; subjective cognitive decline.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease
  • Apolipoprotein E4 / genetics
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / diagnosis*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / epidemiology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / genetics
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / psychology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Genotyping Techniques
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Perception*
  • Prodromal Symptoms
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Time Factors


  • Apolipoprotein E4