Social Cognition in Alzheimer's Disease: A Separate Construct Contributing to Dependence

Cosentino, Stephanie; Zahodne, Laura B.; Brandt, Jason; Blacker, Deborah; Albert, Marilyn; Dubois, Bruno; Stern, Yaakov

The extent to which social cognitive changes reflect a discrete constellation of symptoms dissociable from general cognitive changes in Alzheimer's disease (AD) is unclear. Moreover, whether social cognitive symptoms contribute to disease severity and progression is unknown. The current multicenter study investigated cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between social cognition measured with six items from the Blessed Dementia Rating Scale, general cognition, and dependence in 517 participants with probable AD. Participants were monitored every 6 months for 5.5 years. Results from multivariate latent growth curve models adjusted for sex, age, education, depression, and recruitment site revealed that social cognition and general cognition were unrelated cross-sectionally and throughout time. However, baseline levels of each were related independently to dependence, and change values of each were related independently to change in dependence. These findings highlight the separability of social and general cognition in AD. Results underscore the relevance of considering social cognition when modeling disease and estimating clinical outcomes related to patient disability.


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Alzheimer's and Dementia

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February 23, 2018