BACKGROUND: Changes in criteria and differences in populations studied and methodology have produced a wide range of prevalence estimates for mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
METHODS: Uniform criteria were applied to harmonized data from 11 studies from USA, Europe, Asia and Australia, and MCI prevalence estimates determined using three separate definitions of cognitive impairment.
RESULTS: The published range of MCI prevalence estimates was 5.0%-36.7%. This was reduced with all cognitive impairment definitions: performance in the bottom 6.681% (3.2%-10.8%); Clinical Dementia Rating of 0.5 (1.8%-14.9%); Mini-Mental State Examination score of 24-27 (2.1%-20.7%). Prevalences using the first definition were 5.9% overall, and increased with age (P < .001) but were unaffected by sex or the main races/ethnicities investigated (Whites and Chinese). Not completing high school increased the likelihood of MCI (P ≤ .01).
CONCLUSION: Applying uniform criteria to harmonized data greatly reduced the variation in MCI prevalence internationally.