Screening for Alzheimer’s Disease: Cognitive Impairment in Self-Referred and Memory Clinic-Referred Patients
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Alzheimer's Disease. 2017, 60 (4), 1621-1631. 10.3233/JAD-170385
Background: Cognitive assessment is essential in tracking disease progression in AD. Presently, cohorts including preclinical at-risk participants are recruited by different means, which may bias cognitive and clinical features. We compared recruitment strategies to levels of cognitive functioning. Objective: We investigate recruitment source biases in self-referred and memory clinic-referred patient cohorts to reveal potential differences in cognitive performance and demographics among at-risk participants. Methods: We included 431 participants 40–80 years old. Participants were classified as controls (n = 132) or symptom group (n = 299). The symptom group comprised of subjective cognitive decline (SCD, n = 163) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI, n = 136). We compared cognitive performance and demographics in memory clinic-referrals (n = 86) to self-referred participants responding to advertisements and news bulletins (n = 179). Participants recruited by other means were excluded from analysis (n = 34). Results: At symptom group level, we found significant reductions in cognitive performance in memory clinic-referrals compared to self-referrals. However, here reductions were only found within the MCI group. We found no differences in cognitive performance due to recruitment within the SCD group. The MCI group was significantly impaired compared to controls on all measures. Significant reductions in learning, and executive functions were also found for the SCD group. Conclusion: Regardless of recruitment method, both the SCD and MCI groups showed reductions in cognitive performance compared to controls. We found differences in cognitive impairment for memory clinic-referrals compared to self-referrals only within the MCI group, SCD-cases being equally affected irrespective of referral type.