Preclinical Alzheimer's disease and its outcome: a longitudinal cohort study

Stephanie J. B. Vos, Chengjie Xiong, Pieter Jelle Visser, Mateusz S. Jasielec, Jason Hassenstab, Elizabeth A. Grant, Nigel J. Cairns, John C. Morris, David M. Holtzman, Anne M. Fagan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background New research criteria for preclinical Alzheimer's disease have been proposed, which include stages for cognitively normal individuals with abnormal amyloid markers (stage 1), abnormal amyloid and neuronal injury markers (stage 2), or abnormal amyloid and neuronal injury markers and subtle cognitive changes (stage 3). We aimed to investigate the prevalence and long-term outcome of preclinical Alzheimer's disease according to these criteria. Methods Participants were cognitively normal (clinical dementia rating [CDR]=0) community-dwelling volunteers aged at least 65 years who were enrolled between 1998 and 2011 at the Washington University School of Medicine (MO, USA). CSF amyloid-beta(1-42) and tau concentrations and a memory composite score were used to classify participants as normal (both markers normal), preclinical Alzheimer's disease stage 1-3, or suspected non-Alzheimer pathophysiology (SNAP, abnormal injury marker without abnormal amyloid marker). The primary outcome was the proportion of participants in each preclinical AD stage. Secondary outcomes included progression to CDR at least 0 5, symptomatic Alzheimer's disease (score of at least 0.5 for memory and at least one other domain and cognitive impairments deemed to be due to Alzheimer's disease), and mortality. We undertook survival analyses using subdistribution and standard Cox hazards models and linear mixed models. Findings Of 311 participants, 129 (41%) were classed as normal, 47 (15%) as stage 1, 36 (12%) as stage 2, 13 (4%) as stage 3, 72 (23%) as SNAP, and 14 (5%) remained unclassified. The 5-year progression rate to CDR at least 0 5, symptomatic Alzheimer's disease was 2% for participants classed as normal, 11% for stage 1, 26% for stage 2, 56% for stage 3, and 5% for SNAP. Compared with individuals classed as normal, participants with preclinical Alzheimer's disease had an increased risk of death after adjusting for covariates (hazard ratio 6 2, 95% CI 1.1-35.0; p=0.040). Interpretation Preclinical Alzheimer's disease is common in cognitively normal elderly people and is associated with future cognitive decline and mortality: Thus, preclinical Alzheimer's disease could be an important target for therapeutic intervention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)957-965
JournalLancet Neurology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013


Dive into the research topics of 'Preclinical Alzheimer's disease and its outcome: a longitudinal cohort study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this