Preclinical AD predicts decline in memory and executive functions in subjective complaints

Argonde C. van Harten*, Lieke L. Smits, Charlotte E. Teunissen, Pieter J. Visser, Teddy Koene, Marinus A. Blankenstein, Philip Scheltens, Wiesje M. van der Flier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: We assessed whether preclinical Alzheimer disease (AD) based on CSF biomarkers at baseline predicts decline in cognitive functioning as measured by repeated neuropsychological tests for 4 cognitive domains in patients with subjective complaints. Methods: We included 132 patients with subjective complaints from our memory clinic-based Amsterdam Dementia Cohort, who underwent lumbar puncture and had repeated (range 2-7) neuropsychological evaluations. Follow-up was 2 +/- 1 years. CSF biomarkers amyloid-beta (A beta 42), total tau (Tau), and hyperphosphorylated tau-181 were used to define National Institute on Aging-Alzheimer's Association (NIA-AA) preclinical AD stages. Predictive value of preclinical AD stages as defined by CSF biomarkers, individual biomarkers, and A beta 42/tau ratio was assessed using linear mixed models. Outcome measures were compound z scores for memory, attention, executive functioning, language, and global cognition. Analyses were adjusted for age, sex, and education. Results: Patients were 61 +/- 8 years old; 56 (42%) were women. Average baseline Mini-Mental State Examination score was 28.3 +/- 1.5. Patients who fulfilled criteria for preclinical AD (stage 1: n = 11 + stage 2: n = 10) showed decline over time in memory (beta +/- SE -0.41 +/- 0.14, p <0.01), executive functions (-0.21 +/- 0.08, p <0.01), and global cognition (-0.29 +/- 0.10, p <0.01). There were no differences in cognitive decline between NIA-AA preclinical AD stages 1 and 2. In patients with normal CSF biomarkers, we observed memory improvement (0.19 +/- 0.07, p <0.01) and stable performance in all other domains. Conclusions: CSF evidence of preclinical AD in patients with subjective complaints predicted cognitive decline over time, encompassing more than memory alone. Executive functioning and global cognitive functioning also deteriorated. On the other hand, 2-year prognosis for patients without evidence of AD pathophysiology was good.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1409-1416
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2013

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