Trajectory of mild cognitive impairment onset

Diane Howieson, Nichole E. Carlson, M. Milar Moore, Dara Wasserman, Cena D. Abendroth, Jessica Payne-Murphy, Jeffrey A. Kaye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


The objective was to identify the trajectories of onset of memory and other cognitive loss in persons destined to develop mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia. Healthy, community dwelling, cognitively intact elders (n = 156, mean age at entry = 83 years) were examined annually for an average of greater than 7 years. Those who developed at least two consecutive Clinical Dementia Ratings ≥ 0.5 were classified as having MCI. Longitudinal mixed effects models with a change point were used to model the aging process in those with and without an MCI diagnosis during follow-up and to model the rate of change relative to the age of onset of MCI. MCI had a preclinical stage of accelerated cognitive loss that was observed 3 to 4 years before the diagnosis of MCI on tests of verbal memory, animal fluency, and visuospatial constructions. Evidence from memory performance before the change point suggests that a slow decline in memory precedes the period of accelerated decline in the development of MCI. Aging transitions leading to MCI and dementia are characterized by unique linear and nonlinear cognitive changes in several domains that precede the diagnosis of MCI and dementia by at least several years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-198
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • Aged 80 and over
  • Aging
  • Alzheimer disease
  • Dementia
  • Episodic memory
  • Longitudinal studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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