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Alzheimers Res Ther. 2019 Jul 8;11(1):61. doi: 10.1186/s13195-019-0514-z.

Cross-sectional and longitudinal characterization of SCD patients recruited from the community versus from a memory clinic: subjective cognitive decline, psychoaffective factors, cognitive performances, and atrophy progression over time.

Author information

Inserm, Inserm UMR-S U1237, GIP Cyceron, Université de Caen-Normandie, Boulevard H. Becquerel, 14000, Caen, France.
Memory and Aging Center, Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Normandie Univ, UNICAEN, PSL Recherche Universités, EPHE, INSERM, U1077, CHU de Caen, Neuropsychologie et Imagerie de la Mémoire Humaine, GIP Cyceron, 14000, Caen, France.
CHU de Caen, Service de Neurologie, Caen, France.
Department of Clinical Research, Caen Normandy Hospital (CHU) de Caen, 14000, Caen, France.
Inserm, Inserm UMR-S U1237, GIP Cyceron, Université de Caen-Normandie, Boulevard H. Becquerel, 14000, Caen, France.



Subjective cognitive decline (SCD) defines a heterogeneous population, part of which having Alzheimer's disease (AD). We aimed at characterizing SCD populations according to whether or not they referred to a memory clinic, by assessing the factors associated with increased AD risk.


Seventy-eight cognitively unimpaired older adults from the IMAP+ study (Caen) were included, amongst which 28 healthy controls (HC) and 50 SCD recruited from the community (SCD-community; n = 23) or from a memory clinic (SCD-clinic; n = 27). Participants underwent cognitive, psychoaffective, structural MRI, FDG-PET, and amyloid-PET assessments. They were followed up over a mean period of 2.4 ± 0.8 years. The groups were compared in terms of baseline and follow-up levels of SCD (self- and informant-reported), cognition, subclinical anxiety and depression, and atrophy progression over time. We also investigated SCD substrates within each SCD group through the correlations between self-reported SCD and other psychometric and brain measures.


Compared to HC, both SCD groups showed similar cognitive performances but higher informant-reported SCD and anxiety. Compared to SCD-community, SCD-clinic showed higher informant-reported SCD, depression score, and atrophy progression over time but similar brain amyloid load. A significant increase over time was found for depression in the SCD-community and for self-reported praxis-domestic activities SCD factor in the SCD-clinic. Higher self-reported SCD correlated with (i) lower grey matter volume and higher anxiety in SCD-community, (ii) greater informant-reported SCD in SCD-clinic, and (iii) lower glucose metabolism in both SCD groups.


Higher subclinical depression and informant-reported SCD specifically characterize the SCD group that refers to a memory clinic. The same group appears as a frailer population than SCD-community as they show greater atrophy progression over time. Yet, both the SCD groups were quite similar otherwise including for brain amyloid load and the SCD-community showed increased depression score over time. Altogether, our findings highlight the relevance of assessing psychoaffective factors and informant-reported SCD in SCD populations and point to both differences and similarities in SCD populations referring or not to a memory clinic.


Biomarkers; Neuroimaging; Pathological ageing; Preclinical Alzheimer’s disease; Psychoaffective factors; Subjective cognitive decline

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