Introduction: Subjective cognitive decline (SCD) could indicate preclinical Alzheimer's disease, but the existing literature is confounded by heterogeneous approaches to studying SCD. We assessed the differential cognitive, affective, and neuroimaging correlates of two aspects of SCD: reporting high cognitive difficulties on a self-rated questionnaire versus consulting at a memory clinic.
Methods: We compared 28 patients from a memory clinic with isolated SCD, 35 community-recruited elders with similarly high levels of self-reported cognitive difficulties, and 35 community-recruited controls with low self-reported cognitive difficulties.
Results: Increased anxiety and amyloid β deposition were observed in both groups with high self-reported difficulties, whereas subclinical depression and (hippocampal) atrophy were specifically associated with medical help seeking. Cognitive tests showed no group differences.
Discussion: These results further validate the concept of SCD in both community- and clinic-based groups. Yet, recruitment methods influence associated biomarkers and affective symptomatology, highlighting the heterogeneous nature of SCD depending on study characteristics.
Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Amyloid β; Anxiety; Atrophy; Cognitive complaint; Depression; Florbetapir-PET; Hippocampus; MRI; Preclinical; Subjective cognitive decline.
Copyright © 2016 the Alzheimer's Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.