Correlates of Conversion from Mild Cognitive Impairment to Dementia with Lewy Bodies: Data from the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center

J Alzheimers Dis. 2022;86(4):1643-1654. doi: 10.3233/JAD-215428.


Background: Many patients with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) miss out on the best standards of care and psychosocial support due to diagnostic delays or inaccuracies following symptom onset.

Objective: This study seeks to identify baseline characteristics in individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) that correlate with eventual conversion to DLB or Alzheimer's disease (AD).

Methods: Baseline neuropsychological and neuropsychiatric data were analyzed in National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center participants who completed the Uniform Data Set between 2006 and 2020 and subsequently converted from MCI to DLB or AD (n = 1632).

Results: Only 6% of participants with MCI converted to DLB. Among those who converted to DLB, multidomain amnestic MCI (aMCI) was the most common subtype at study entry. As part of logistic regression analyses, odds ratios (ORs) were estimated for conversion to DLB versus AD based on study-entry characteristics, adjusting for age, sex, education, and years to diagnosis. The strongest predictors of conversion to DLB (p≤0.0001) were nonamnestic MCI versus aMCI (OR 8.2, CI [5.0, 14]), multidomain MCI versus single-domain MCI (OR 2.7, CI [1.7. 4.2]), male sex (OR 4.2, CI [2.5, 7.1]), and presence of nighttime behaviors (OR 4.4 CI [2.8, 6.9]).

Conclusion: A diagnosis of prodromal DLB should be considered in individuals with MCI who present with prominent executive/visuospatial deficits, neuropsychiatric symptoms, and less memory impairment. Early diagnosis of DLB may guide treatment planning, including the avoidance of antipsychotic medications in patients who develop psychotic symptoms, caregiver support, and initiation of early treatment(s) once medications become available.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; NACC; amnestic; dementia with Lewy bodies; mild cognitive impairment; multidomain; nonamnestic; single domain.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease* / diagnosis
  • Cognitive Dysfunction* / diagnosis
  • Cognitive Dysfunction* / psychology
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Lewy Bodies
  • Lewy Body Disease* / diagnosis
  • Lewy Body Disease* / psychology
  • Male

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