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Subjective memory complaint as a useful tool for the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease

Authors Choe YM, Byun MS, Lee JH, Sohn BK, Lee DY, Kim JW

Received 17 May 2018

Accepted for publication 27 July 2018

Published 24 September 2018 Volume 2018:14 Pages 2451—2460


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Taro Kishi

Young Min Choe,1,2 Min Soo Byun,3 Jun Ho Lee,4 Bo Kyung Sohn,5 Dong Young Lee,3,4 Jee Wook Kim1,2

1Department of Neuropsychiatry, Hallym University Dongtan Sacred Heart Hospital, Hwaseong, Republic of Korea; 2Department of Psychiatry, Hallym University College of Medicine, Chuncheon, Republic of Korea; 3Institute of Human Behavioral Medicine, Medical Research Center Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea; 4Department of Neuropsychiatry, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea; 5Department of Psychiatry, Sanggye Paik Hospital, Inje University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Purpose: Despite their high prevalence in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and the increasing level of concern they have generated, subjective memory complaints (SMCs) are poorly understood. This study investigated the accuracy with which SMC can separate mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and early AD from cognitive normal (CN), and explored whether the discrimination ability is similar to or better than that of the Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE).
Patients and methods: This study recruited 175 CN subjects, 52 with MCI, and 66 with probable AD aged 60 years or older. To test the independent contributions of SMC and MMSE scores to the classification of cognitive status (CN vs MCI or early AD), logistic regression analyses were performed, adjusting for the following potential confounding variables: age, gender, Frontal Assessment Battery score, modified Hachinski Ischemic Scale score, and apolipoprotein E e4 status. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analyses were used to determine the discrimination accuracy of SMC and MMSE scores, and area under the ROC curve (AUROC) was also calculated.
Results: In the highly educated (≥7 years), nondepressed (Geriatric Depression Scale ≤15) subgroup, SMC showed good accuracy in discriminating cognitively impaired subjects from CN after adjusting for potential confounding variables (the AUROC of the adjusted SMC was 0.841 for MCI discrimination, and it was 0.858 for MCI plus early AD discrimination). Both SMC and MMSE scores significantly contributed to differentiating between CN and MCI (OR=2.372, 95% CI=1.086–5.177; OR=0.730, 95% CI=0.566–0.941, respectively) after adjusting for the same covariates. However, in the highly educated and nondepressed subgroups, SMC showed significant predictive power for MCI from CN (OR=3.119, 95% CI=1.190–8.176; OR=3.328, 95% CI=1.320–8.396, respectively), whereas MMSE scores did not.
Conclusion: Our findings support the usefulness of SMC, which was comparable or even superior to MMSE scores, for detecting MCI or early AD.

Keywords: subjective memory complaint (SMC), Alzheimer’s disease (AD), mild cognitive impairment (MCI), cognitively normal (CN), discrimination accuracy

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