Middle age self-report risk score predicts cognitive functioning and dementia in 20-40 years

Alzheimers Dement (Amst). 2016 Sep 14;4:118-125. doi: 10.1016/j.dadm.2016.08.003. eCollection 2016.


Introduction: On the basis of the proxy measures of cognitive reserve, we created a middle age self-report risk score for early prediction of dementia.

Methods: We used a longitudinal population-based study of 2602 individuals with a replication sample (N = 1011). Risk score at a mean age of 47 years was based on questions on educational and occupational attainments. Cognitive status at a mean age of 74 was determined via two validated telephone instruments.

Results: The prevalence of dementia was 10% after a mean follow-up of 28 years. Risk score was a good predictor of dementia: area under the curve = 0.77 (95% confidence interval, 0.74-0.80). The risk of dementia decreased as a function of risk score from 36% to 0%. The risk score was significantly associated with cognition after a mean follow-up of 39 years in the replication sample.

Discussion: Self-report risk score predicted cognitive functioning and dementia risk 20-40 years later.

Keywords: Cognitive reserve; Dementia; Early identification; Education; Middle age; Occupation; Risk score; Twins.