Frontal-executive dysfunction affects dementia conversion in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment

Young Hee Jung, Seongbeom Park, Hyemin Jang, Soo Hyun Cho, Seung Joo Kim, Jun Pyo Kim, Sung Tae Kim, Duk L Na, Sang Won Seo, Hee Jin Kim
Scientific Reports 2020 January 21, 10 (1): 772
Among mild cognitive impairment (MCI) patients, those with memory impairment (amnestic MCI, aMCI) are at a high risk of dementia. However, the precise cognitive domain, beside memory, that predicts dementia conversion is unclear. Therefore, we investigated the cognitive domain that predicts dementia conversion in a longitudinal aMCI cohort. We collected data of 482 aMCI patients who underwent neuropsychological tests and magnetic resonance imaging at baseline and were followed for at least 1 year. The patients were categorized according to number (1-4) and type of impaired cognitive domains (memory, language, visuospatial, and frontal-executive function). We evaluated dementia conversion risk in each group when compared to single-domain aMCI after controlling for age, education, diabetes and dyslipidemia. Baseline cortical thickness of each group was compared to that of 410 cognitively normal controls (NCs) after controlling for age, intracranial volume, diabetes and dyslipidemia. Compared to single-domain aMCI, aMCI patients with frontal-executive dysfunction at baseline had a higher risk of dementia conversion than aMCI patients with visuospatial or language dysfunction. Compared to NCs, aMCI patients with frontal-executive dysfunction had overall cortical thinning including frontal areas. Our findings suggest that aMCI patients with frontal-executive dysfunction have poor prognosis and,thus, should be considered for intervention therapy with a higher priority among aMCI patients.

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