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Memory profiles predict dementia over 23–28 years in normal but not successful aging

  • Maria Josefsson (a1), Anna Sundström (a1) (a2), Sara Pudas (a3) (a4), Annelie Nordin Adolfsson (a5), Lars Nyberg (a3) (a4) (a6) and Rolf Adolfsson (a5)...

Abstract

Objectives:

Prospective studies suggest that memory deficits are detectable decades before clinical symptoms of dementia emerge. However, individual differences in long-term memory trajectories prior to diagnosis need to be further elucidated. The aim of the current study was to investigate long-term dementia and mortality risk for individuals with different memory trajectory profiles in a well-characterized population-based sample.

Methods:

1062 adults (aged 45–80 years) who were non-demented at baseline were followed over 23–28 years. Dementia and mortality risk were studied for three previously classified episodic memory trajectory groups: maintained high performance (Maintainers; 26%), average decline (Averages; 64%), and accelerated decline (Decliners; 12%), using multistate modeling to characterize individuals’ transitions from an initial non-demented state, possibly to a state of dementia and/or death.

Results:

The memory groups showed considerable intergroup variability in memory profiles, starting 10–15 years prior to dementia diagnosis, and prior to death. A strong relationship between memory trajectory group and dementia risk was found. Specifically, Decliners had more than a fourfold risk of developing dementia compared to Averages. In contrast, Maintainers had a 2.6 times decreased dementia risk compared to Averages, and in addition showed no detectable memory decline prior to dementia diagnosis. A similar pattern of association was found for the memory groups and mortality risk, although only among non-demented.

Conclusion:

There was a strong relationship between accelerated memory decline and dementia, further supporting the prognostic value of memory decline. The intergroup differences, however, suggest that mechanisms involved in successful memory aging may delay symptom onset.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Maria Josefsson, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research, Umeå University, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden. Phone: +46 (0)90 786 67 78. Email: maria.josefsson@umu.se.

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Keywords

Memory profiles predict dementia over 23–28 years in normal but not successful aging

  • Maria Josefsson (a1), Anna Sundström (a1) (a2), Sara Pudas (a3) (a4), Annelie Nordin Adolfsson (a5), Lars Nyberg (a3) (a4) (a6) and Rolf Adolfsson (a5)...

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