Mild cognitive impairment in a community sample: The Sydney Memory and Ageing Study

Henry Brodaty*, Megan Heffernan, Nicole A. Kochan, Brian Draper, Julian N. Trollor, Simone Reppermund, Melissa J. Slavin, Perminder S. Sachdev

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is associated with an increased dementia risk. This study reports incidence of MCI subtypes, rates of progression to dementia, and stability of MCI classification. Methods: We examined 873 community-dwelling adults aged 70 to 90 years over 2 years as part of an ongoing population-based longitudinal study, the Sydney Memory and Ageing Study. Neuropsychological testing assessed five cognitive domains, and a diagnosis of no cognitive impairment, MCI, or dementia (follow-up only) was made according to published criteria. Results: The incidence of MCI was 104.6 (95% confidence interval: 81.6-127.7) per 1000 person-years, with higher incidence in men (men, 156.8; women, 70.3). Incidence rates for single-domain amnestic, multiple-domain amnestic, single-domain nonamnestic, and multiple-domain nonamnestic MCI were 47.7, 7.9, 45.0, and 3.9 per 1000 person-years, respectively. The 2-year rate of progression from MCI at baseline to dementia was 4.8%, being highest for multidomain amnestic MCI (9.1%). Of those with MCI at baseline, 28.2% reverted to no cognitive impairment at follow-up. Sensitivity analyses by redefining criteria for cognitive impairment did not affect stability of diagnosis, although changing the threshold of domain impairment reduced baseline MCI prevalence from 36.7% to 5.7% and incidence to 23.5, and increased 2-year progression rate from MCI to dementia to 14.3%. Conclusions: Incidence rates for MCI are higher than previously reported, particularly in men and for single-domain MCI; rates for amnestic and nonamnestic MCI were comparable. Multidomain amnestic MCI was the most likely subtype to progress to dementia, but overall, the diagnosis of MCI, particularly single-domain MCI, shows considerable instability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-317
Number of pages8
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Dementia
  • Incidence
  • Mild cognitive impairment


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