Subjective memory decline (SMD) is a heterogeneous condition. While SMD might be the earliest sign of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), it also occurs in aging and various neurological, medical, and psychiatric conditions. Identifying those with higher risk to develop dementia is thus a major challenge. We tested a novel disease severity index generated by multivariate data analysis with numerous structural MRI measures as input. The index was used to identify SMD individuals with high risk of progression to mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or AD. A total of 69 healthy controls, 86 SMD, 45 MCI, and 38 AD patients were included. Subjects were followed up for 7.5 years. Clinical, cognitive, PET amyloid imaging and APOE ε4 data were used as outcome variables. The results showed that SMD evidenced cognitive performance intermediate between healthy controls and MCI. The disease severity index identified eleven (13%) SMD individuals with an AD-like pattern of brain atrophy. These individuals showed lower cognitive performance, increased CDR-SOB, higher amyloid burden and worse clinical progression (6.2 times higher likelihood to develop MCI, dementia or die than healthy controls). The current disease severity index may have relevance for clinical practice, as well as for selecting appropriate individuals for clinical trials.
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Ferreira, D., Falahati, F., Linden, C., Buckley, R. F., Ellis, K. A., Savage, G., ... Westman, E. (2017). A 'Disease severity index' to identify individuals with subjective memory decline who will progress to mild cognitive impairment or dementia. Scientific Reports, 7, 1-12. . https://doi.org/10.1038/srep44368