The characterisation of subjective cognitive decline

Lancet Neurol. 2020 Mar;19(3):271-278. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(19)30368-0. Epub 2020 Jan 17.


A growing awareness about brain health and Alzheimer's disease in the general population is leading to an increasing number of cognitively unimpaired individuals, who are concerned that they have reduced cognitive function, to approach the medical system for help. The term subjective cognitive decline (SCD) was conceived in 2014 to describe this condition. Epidemiological data provide evidence that the risk for mild cognitive impairment and dementia is increased in individuals with SCD. However, the majority of individuals with SCD will not show progressive cognitive decline. An individually tailored diagnostic process might be reasonable to identify or exclude underlying medical conditions in an individual with SCD who actively seeks medical help. An increasing number of studies are investigating the link between SCD and the very early stages of Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis*
  • Alzheimer Disease / epidemiology
  • Brain
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / diagnosis*
  • Diagnostic Self Evaluation
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Neuropsychological Tests