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Neuropsychology. 2004 Jan;18(1):38-49.

Use of IQ-adjusted norms to predict progressive cognitive decline in highly intelligent older individuals.

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  • 1Division of Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology, Department of Neurology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.


Identifying high-functioning older individuals in preclinical phases of Alzheimer's disease (AD) may require more sensitive methods than the standard approach. The authors explored the utility of adjusting for premorbid intelligence to predict progressive cognitive decline or Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) in 42 highly intelligent older individuals. When scores were adjusted for baseline IQ, 9 participants had executive impairments, 11 had memory impairments, and 22 scored in the normal range. None were impaired according to standard age norms. Three and a half years later, 9 participants with IQ-adjusted memory impairment declined in naming, visuospatial functioning, and memory; 6 convened to MCI. Three participants with normal memory declined. Implications for using IQ-adjusted norms to predict preclinical AD are discussed.

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