To determine predictors of cognitive deterioration, the authors performed baseline and 1- to 5-year follow-up (mean ± SD = 2.5 ± 1.2 years) neuropsychological assessments on 36 persons (mean age ± SD = 62.1 ± 8.0; range = 50 to 81 years) with age-associated memory impairment. Subjects were recruited from a larger group of volunteers, had minimal medical comorbidity, and 25 of them had a family history of Alzheimer's disease. Baseline age and a subjective memory measure indicating reported frequency of mnemonics usage were significant decline predictors. Subjects reporting more frequent mnemonics use at baseline were more likely to show objective cognitive decline at follow-up. Baseline full-scale IQ, educational level, and family history of Alzheimer's disease failed to predict decline. These findings suggest that although age is the strongest decline predictor in some people with age-associated memory impairment, self-perception of memory function may also predict subsequent cognitive loss.
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