The relationship between domain-specific subjective cognitive decline and Alzheimer's pathology in normal elderly adults

Neurobiol Aging. 2019 Sep;81:22-29. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2019.05.011. Epub 2019 May 23.


We evaluated the associations of subjective (self-reported everyday cognition [ECog]) and objective cognitive measures with regional amyloid-β (Aβ) and tau accumulation in 86 clinically normal elderly subjects from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. Regression analyses were conducted to identify whether individual ECog domains (Memory, Language, Organization, Planning, Visuospatial, and Divided Attention) were equally or differentially associated with regional [18F]florbetapir and [18F]flortaucipir uptake and how these associations compared to those obtained with objective cognitive measures. A texture analysis, the weighted 2-point correlation, was used as an additional approach for estimating the whole-brain tau burden without positron emission tomography intensity normalization. Although the strongest models for ECog domains included either tau (planning and visuospatial) or Aβ (memory and organization), the strongest models for all objective measures included Aβ. In Aβ-negative participants, the strongest models for all ECog domains of executive functioning included tau. Our results indicate differential associations of individual subjective cognitive domains with Aβ and tau in clinically normal adults. Detailed characterization of ECog may render a valuable prescreening tool for pathological prediction.

Keywords: Aging; Alzheimer's disease; Amyloid beta plaques; Neurofibrillary tau tangles; Subjective cognitive decline; [(18)F]florbetapir; [(18)F]flortaucipir.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging*
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology*
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism*
  • Aniline Compounds / metabolism
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Cognition
  • Cognitive Dysfunction
  • Ethylene Glycols / metabolism
  • Fluorine Radioisotopes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Neuroimaging
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / metabolism
  • tau Proteins / metabolism*


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Aniline Compounds
  • Ethylene Glycols
  • Fluorine Radioisotopes
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • tau Proteins
  • florbetapir
  • Fluorine-18