How is subjective cognitive decline associated with neurodegeneration?

Takeaway

  • As the association of subjective memory decline (SMD) score with the level of neurodegeneration differs between persons with normal cognition, those with early stages and those with late stages of dementia, it should be interpreted differently across the continuum from normal cognition to Alzheimer’s dementia.

Why this matters

  • Persons with subjective cognitive decline (SCD) but without dementia are at an increased risk of subsequent objective cognitive decline and dementia, which is attributed to SMD. In addition, neuroimaging studies show that this patient population has increased levels of biomarkers suggestive of Alzheimer’s disease.

  • The association of SCD with potential underlying pathology in patients with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s dementia diagnosis is unclear.

  • The findings of this study may assist clinicians in identifying patients at increased risk of neurodegeneration across the continuum from normal cognition to Alzheimer’s disease.