The EVA study was carried out under an agreement between the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale; the Merck, Sharp and Dohme-Chibret Laboratories (West-Point, Pennsylvania); and the EISAI Company.
Subjective Cognitive Complaints and Cognitive Decline: Consequence or Predictor? The Epidemiology of Vascular Aging Study
Article first published online: 30 MAR 2005
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
Volume 53, Issue 4, pages 616–621, April 2005
How to Cite
Dufouil, C., Fuhrer, R. and Alpérovitch, A. (2005), Subjective Cognitive Complaints and Cognitive Decline: Consequence or Predictor? The Epidemiology of Vascular Aging Study. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 53: 616–621. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2005.53209.x
- Issue published online: 30 MAR 2005
- Article first published online: 30 MAR 2005
- cognitive complaints; cognitive decline; white matter lesions; cohort study
Objectives: To explore whether more cognitive complaints are associated with previous or future cognitive decline.
Design: Longitudinal; epidemiology vascular aging study.
Setting: Community in Nantes, France.
Participants: Seven hundred thirty-three subjects, aged 59 to 71.
Measurements: Subjective cognitive complaints were recorded at 4-year follow-up examination in a prospective study of people aged 59 to 71 at study entry. Participants' cognitive performances were assessed repeatedly at each wave (baseline, 4 years, and 6 years) of the study using a series of neuropsychological tests including the Mini-Mental State Examination. Depressive symptoms were evaluated using the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale. Subjects also had a cerebral magnetic resonance imaging scan at 4-year follow-up to evaluate presence and severity of white matter hyperintensities (WMHs).
Results: Subjects with more cognitive complaints had greater cognitive decline. This significant relationship persisted after adjusting for potential confounders, including depressive symptoms. Multivariate analysis also showed that, in subjects without measured cognitive decline between study entry and 4-year follow-up, those with more cognitive complaints at 4-year follow-up had significantly greater measured cognitive decline during the subsequent 2 years. In the presence of severe WMH, more cognitive complaints were an even stronger predictor of future cognitive decline.
Conclusion: Cognitive complaints reflect measured cognitive decline, but they also predict cognitive decline at an earlier stage than objective tests that are not able to detect cognitive deficits. They need to be taken into account in clinical practice.