Subjective cognitive decline and risk of MCI: The Mayo Clinic Study of Aging


We investigated different dimensions of subjective cognitive decline (SCD) to determine which was the best prognostic risk factor for incident mild cognitive impairment (MCI) among cognitively unimpaired participants.


We included 1,167 cognitively unimpaired participants, aged 70 to 95 years, from the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging based on 2 concurrent SCD scales (part of the Blessed memory test and the 39-item Everyday Cognition [ECog] scale, which included a validated 12-item derivative) and a single question assessing worry about cognitive decline. We evaluated multiple ways to dichotomize scores. In continuous models, we compared average scores on 4 ECog domains and multidomain (39- and 12-item) ECog scores. Cox proportional hazards models were used to assess the association between each measure and risk of MCI in models adjusted for objective memory performance, depression, anxiety, sex, APOE 4 carriership, and medical comorbidities.


It was possible to select a substantial group of participants (14%) at increased risk of incident MCI based on combined baseline endorsement of any consistent SCD on the ECog (any item scored ≥3; 12-item ECog hazard ratio [HR] 2.17 [95% confidence interval 1.51–3.13]) and worry (HR 1.79 [1.24–2.58]) in an adjusted model combining these dimensions. In continuous models, all ECog domains and the multidomain scores were associated with risk of MCI with a small advantage for multidomain SCD (12-item ECog HR 2.13 [1.36–3.35] per point increase in average score). Information provided by the informant performed comparable to self-perceived SCD.


Prognostic value of SCD for incident MCI improves when both consistency of SCD and associated worry are evaluated.

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