Prevalence of mild cognitive impairment in an elderly community sample

J Neural Transm Suppl. 1998;54:51-9. doi: 10.1007/978-3-7091-7508-8_5.


The term "mild cognitive impairment" refers to cognitive deficits which exceed normal physiological aging processes, but do not fulfill the criteria for dementia. While recent studies indicate that the respective deficits can be reliably assessed, different diagnostic criteria have prevented a wide application of this diagnosis in clinical practice. The aims of the present study were (1) to assess the prevalence rates of four current diagnostic concepts and (2) to investigate mild cognitive impairment with respect to psychological and sociodemographic variables. Data from 202 probands recruited from the interdisciplinary longitudinal study on adult development were analyzed. On the time of examination, probands were between 60 to 64 years old and in a good health. The following prevalence rates were determined: 13.5% for age-associated memory impairment (AAMI), 6.5% for age-consistent memory impairment (ACMI), 1.5% for late-life forgetfulness (LLF), and 23.5% for aging-associated cognitive decline (AACD). Complaints of cognitive deficits were significantly correlated with higher scores on depression and neuroticism scales but with none of the neuropsychological measures. Reduced performance in neuropsychological tests was associated with a lower educational level and socioeconomic status. We conclude that the prevalence rates of mild cognitive impairment are highly dependent on the diagnostic criteria applied. In this respect the self-report of cognitive decline might be a less useful criteria. Longitudinal studies are warranted to further elucidate the predictive value of these diagnostic criteria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Employment
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Memory Disorders / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Prevalence
  • Socioeconomic Factors