Functional Significance of Mild Cognitive Impairment in Elderly Patients Without a Dementia Diagnosis

Albert, Steven M.; Michaels, K.; Padilla, M.; Pelton, G.; Bell, K.; Marder, K.; Stern, Yaakov; Devanand, D.P.

The authors investigated differences in functional ability among three groups of subjects who were not diagnosed with dementia: normal control (NC) subjects (n=35); Clinical Dementia Rating Scale (CDRS) score of 0 (minimal impairment; n=26); and CDRS 0. 5 (questionable dementia; n=42). CDRS 0 and 0. 5 patients reported significantly poorer functioning than NCs in household and other activities, but CDRS 0 and CDRS 0. 5 groups did not differ in self-reported functioning. It is likely that CDRS 0. 5 patients overestimated their functional abilities. Correlations between self- and informant reports of functional status were significantly lower in the CDRS 0. 5 group than in the CDRS 0 group, an important finding for clinical management because patients with questionable dementia may actually be more impaired than they admit. Informants' reports or standardized performance-based assessment should be considered in the clinical evaluation of such patients.



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The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry

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February 11, 2022