Highlights from

ECNP 2020

ECNP Congress Virtual

Virtual 12 - 15 September 2020

Predicting MCI and dementia by assessing worrying about memory

Worrying about memory is associated with an increased risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia in individuals with subjective cognitive decline. The latter is associated with amyloid positivity in cognitively unimpaired individuals and worries predict amyloid positivity in MCI and subjective cognitive decline.

Prof. Frank Jessen (University Hospital of Cologne, Germany) introduced AgeCoDe, the German study on ageing, cognition and dementia [1]. This is a population-representative cohort which aims to identify risk factors of dementia. Over 3,000 participants were included, the average age at baseline was 75 years and nobody had dementia.

One of the findings showed that cognitively healthy participants (n=2,423) who feel that they suffer from subjective cognitive decline, have a HR 3.04 that they will develop Alzheimer’s disease dementia. The risk was even higher (HR 6.54) if participants indicated that they worried about their cognitive decline [2]. The prognostic value of subjective cognitive decline for incident MCI improves when concerns as well as consistency of the subjective cognitive decline and associated worry are evaluated [3].

Biomarkers play a role as well; Prof. Jessen explained that specific aspects of subjective cognitive decline severity and quality are related to CSF biomarkers indicative of Alzheimer’s disease [4]. He concluded that the underlying mechanisms concerning the association between worries about memory and the increased risk of MCI and dementia are unclear. “Proneness to worry is a risk factor for cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease versus pathology causes worries through subtle dysfunction of cognition.” Subjective cognitive decline, neuropsychiatric symptoms (which include worries), subtle cognitive dysfunction, and biomarker change all occur temporally related in the early stages of the purely asymptomatic phase of the disease [1].

Top image: @ iStockPhoto: CIPhotos

The content and interpretation of these conference highlights are the views and comments of the speakers/authors.