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J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;22(4):1231-40. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2010-100516.

Prediction of all-cause dementia using neuropsychological tests within 10 and 5 years of diagnosis in a community-based sample.

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Geriatric Research Unit, Brain Sciences Program, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


While neuropsychological tests have been identified for the early prediction of Alzheimer's disease, this has not been established for prediction of all-cause dementia. This would be helpful for clinicians concerned about the risk of progression to dementia in patients who may present with a variety of medical and neurological conditions. We wanted to determine whether neuropsychological tests could accurately predict incident dementia within 10 and five years of diagnosis in a community-based sample. The Canadian Study of Health and Aging was conducted in three waves over a 10-year period (1991-2002). We studied 1472 non-demented participants who completed neuropsychological testing in 1991 and received a diagnostic assessment for dementia in 2001 (n = 284). We also studied 1231 non-demented participants who completed neuropsychological testing in 1996 and received a diagnostic assessment in 2001 (n = 634). Diagnosticians were blinded to performance on the predictive tests. Age, education, and sex were included as covariates in all regression analysis. Ten-year prediction: 2 tests, Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT) short delayed verbal recall and Wechsler Adult Intelligence Test Revised (WAIS-R) Digit Symbol, were significant predictors of dementia (sensitivity = 78%, specificity = 72%, positive likelihood ratio = 2.81). Five-year prediction: 4 tests, Wechsler Memory Scale Information, RAVLT short delayed verbal recall, animal fluency, and WAIS-R Digit Symbol, significantly predicted incident dementia (sensitivity = 75%, specificity = 74%, positive likelihood ratio = 2.90). Regression models were supported with bootstrapping estimates. Neuropsychological tests can accurately predict progression to all-cause dementia within 10 years of diagnosis in a large community-based sample of non-demented participants.

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