Alzheimer disease (AD) characteristically begins with episodic memory impairment followed by other cognitive deficits; however, the course of illness varies, with substantial differences in the rate of cognitive decline. For research and clinical purposes it would be useful to distinguish between persons who will progress slowly from persons who will progress at an average or faster rate. Our objective was to use neurocognitive performance features and disease-specific and health information to determine a predictive model for the rate of cognitive decline in participants with mild AD. We reviewed the records of a series of 96 consecutive participants with mild AD from 1995 to 2011 who had been administered selected neurocognitive tests and clinical measures. Based on Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) of functional and cognitive decline over 2 years, participants were classified as Faster (n = 45) or Slower (n = 51) Progressors. Stepwise logistic regression analyses using neurocognitive performance features, disease-specific, health, and demographic variables were performed. Neuropsychological scores that distinguished Faster from Slower Progressors included Trail Making Test - A, Digit Symbol, and California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT) Total Learned and Primacy Recall. No disease-specific, health, or demographic variable predicted rate of progression; however, history of heart disease showed a trend. Among the neuropsychological variables, Trail Making Test - A best distinguished Faster from Slower Progressors, with an overall accuracy of 68%. In an omnibus model including neuropsychological, disease-specific, health, and demographic variables, only Trail Making Test - A distinguished between groups. Several neuropsychological performance features were associated with the rate of cognitive decline in mild AD, with baseline Trail Making Test - A performance best separating those who declined at an average or faster rate from those who showed slower progression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas