Self and Informant Memory Reports in FINGER: Associations with Two-Year Cognitive Change

J Alzheimers Dis. 2019;71(3):785-795. doi: 10.3233/JAD-190133.


Background: Subjective memory complaints (SMCs) may be the first sign of cognitive decline in aging.

Objective: To examine whether SMCs reported by oneself and informant predict cognitive change over 2 years among at-risk elderly people, and to determine the relationship of different types of SMCs (prospective and retrospective memory complaints) and change in cognitive function.

Methods: This investigation is part of the FINGER project, which is a multicenter randomized controlled trial aiming at preventing cognitive decline in cognitively healthy older adults with increased risk of dementia. A subsample of 303 control-group participants (aged 60-80 years) and their informants (n = 261) rated the frequency of SMCs, using the Prospective and Retrospective Memory Questionnaire (PRMQ). Cognitive performance was measured at baseline and at 1- and 2-year follow-up visits using a neuropsychological test battery.

Results: Participants who reported more SMCs improved less in global cognition, executive function, and memory during the subsequent 2 years in the fully-adjusted analyses. Self-reported retrospective memory problems predicted less improvement in all cognitive domains, whereas prospective memory problems did not. Informant-reported memory problems were not linked to subsequent change in cognition.

Conclusion: Our results indicate that self-reported SMCs, measured with PRMQ, predict future cognitive change in several cognitive domains. By contrast, reports by informants were not linked to changes in cognition. Among cognitively healthy at-risk elderly individuals, the persons themselves observe more easily problems relevant for their future cognitive trajectories than their informants.

Keywords: Aging; cognition; dementia; memory.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cognition*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Self Report*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires