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Memory complaints in subjective cognitive impairment, amnestic mild cognitive impairment and mild Alzheimer's disease

Seon Young Ryu, Sang Bong Lee, Tae Woo Kim, Taek Jun Lee
Acta Neurologica Belgica 2016, 116 (4): 535-541
Memory complaints are a frequent phenomenon in elderly individuals and can lead to opportunistic help-seeking behavior. The aim of this study was to compare different aspects of memory complaints (i.e., prospective versus retrospective complaints) in individuals with subjective cognitive impairment (SCI), amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), and mild Alzheimer's disease (AD). The study included a total of 115 participants (mean age: 68.82 ± 8.83 years) with SCI (n = 34), aMCI (n = 46), and mild AD (n = 35). Memory complaints were assessed using the Prospective and Retrospective Memory Questionnaire (PRMQ), which consists of 16 items that describe everyday memory failure of both prospective memory (PM) and retrospective memory (RM). For aMCI and AD subjects, informants also completed an informant-rating of the PRMQ. All participants completed detailed neuropsychological tests. Results show that PM complaints were equivalent among the three groups. However, RM complaints differed. Specifically, RM complaints in aMCI were higher than SCI, but similar to AD. Informant-reported memory complaints were higher for AD than aMCI. Our study suggests that RM complaints of memory complaints may be helpful in discriminating between SCI and aMCI, but both PM and RM complaints are of limited value in differentiating aMCI from AD.


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