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Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 1997 Jan;12(1):53-9.

Early cognitive markers of the incidence of dementia and mortality: a longitudinal population-based study of the oldest old.

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Institute of Gerontology, University College of Health Sciences, Jönköping, Sweden.


This study examines whether cognitive markers at prior examinations are indicative of subsequent dementia and mortality. The sample was composed of subjects aged 84-90 at baseline who were reexamined three times over a 6-year period on a comprehensive biobehavioral battery. Dementia was evaluated at each examination using DSM-III-R criteria. Results indicated that incident cases of dementia had lower cognitive scores both 2 and 4 years prior to diagnosis, compared to non-demented survivors. Evidence for terminal decline was also found, as people who subsequently died also had lower cognitive performance at prior examinations, compared to non-demented survivors. The findings suggest that mild cognitive dysfunction is an important clinical finding among the oldest old and may herald either the onset of dementia or mortality.

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