Functional deficits in patients with mild cognitive impairment: prediction of AD

M H Tabert, S M Albert, L Borukhova-Milov, Y Camacho, G Pelton, X Liu, Y Stern, D P Devanand
Neurology 2002 March 12, 58 (5): 758-64

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the predictive utility of self-reported and informant-reported functional deficits in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) for the follow-up diagnosis of probable AD.

METHODS: The Pfeffer Functional Activities Questionnaire (FAQ) and Lawton Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) Scale were administered at baseline. Patients were followed at 6-month intervals, and matched normal control subjects (NC) were followed annually.

RESULTS: Self-reported deficits were higher for patients with MCI than for NC. At baseline, self- and informant-reported functional deficits were significantly greater for patients who converted to AD on follow-up evaluation than for patients who did not convert, even after controlling for age, education, and modified Mini-Mental State Examination scores. While converters showed significantly more informant- than self-reported deficits at baseline, nonconverters showed the reverse pattern. Survival analyses further revealed that informant-reported deficits (but not self-reported deficits) and a discrepancy score indicating greater informant- than self-reported functional deficits significantly predicted the development of AD. The discrepancy index showed high specificity and sensitivity for progression to AD within 2 years.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate that in patients with MCI, the patient's lack of awareness of functional deficits identified by informants strongly predicts a future diagnosis of AD. If replicated, these findings suggest that clinicians evaluating MCI patients should obtain both self-reports and informant reports of functional deficits to help in prediction of long-term outcome.

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