Potential factors associated with cognitive improvement of individuals diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment or dementia in longitudinal studies

Christoforos Hadjichrysanthou*, Kevin McRae-Mckee, Stephanie Evans, Frank De Wolf, Roy M. Anderson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the progressive nature of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, it is observed that many individuals that are diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in one clinical assessment, may return back to normal cognition (CN) in a subsequent assessment. Less frequently, such 'back-transitions' are also observed in people that had already been diagnosed with later stages of dementia. In this study, an analysis was performed on two longitudinal cohort datasets provided by 1) the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) and 2) the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Centre (NACC). The focus is on the observed improvement of individuals' clinical condition recorded in these datasets to explore potential associations with different factors. It is shown that, in both datasets, transitions from MCI to CN are significantly associated with younger age, better cognitive function, and the absence of ApoE ϵ4 alleles. Better cognitive function and in some cases the absence of ApoE ϵ4 alleles are also significantly associated with transitions from types of dementia to less severe clinical states. The effect of gender and education is not clear-cut in these datasets, although highly educated people who reach MCI tend to be more likely to show an improvement in their clinical state. The potential effect of other factors such as changes in symptoms of depression is also discussed. Although improved clinical outcomes can be associated with many factors, better diagnostic tools are required to provide insight into whether such improvements are a result of misdiagnosis, and if they are not, whether they are linked to improvements in the underlying neuropathological condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-600
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the Janssen Prevention Center.

Funding Information:
The NACC database is funded by NIA/NIH Grant U01 AG016976. NACC data are contributed by the NIAfunded ADCs: P30 AG019610 (PI Eric Reiman, MD), P30 AG013846 (PI Neil Kowall, MD), P50 AG008702 (PI Scott Small, MD), P50 AG025688 (PI Allan Levey, MD, PhD), P50 AG047266 (PI Todd Golde, MD, PhD), P30 AG010133 (PI Andrew Saykin, PsyD), P50 AG005146 (PI Marilyn Albert, PhD), P50 AG005134 (PI Bradley Hyman, MD, PhD), P50 AG016574 (PI Ronald Petersen, MD, PhD), P50 AG005138 (PI Mary Sano, PhD), P30 AG008051 (PI Thomas Wisniewski, MD), P30 AG013854 (PI M. Marsel Mesulam, MD), P30 AG008017 (PI Jeffrey Kaye, MD), P30 AG010161 (PI David Bennett, MD), P50 AG047366 (PI Victor Henderson, MD, MS), P30 AG010129 (PI Charles DeCarli, MD), P50 AG016573 (PI Frank LaFerla, PhD), P50 AG005131 (PI James Brewer, MD, PhD), P50 AG023501 (PI Bruce Miller, MD), P30 AG035982 (PI Russell Swerdlow, MD), P30 AG028383 (PI Linda Van Eldik, PhD), P30 AG053760 (PI Henry Paulson, MD, PhD), P30 AG010124 (PI John Trojanowski, MD, PhD), P50 AG005133 (PI Oscar Lopez, MD), P50 AG005142 (PI Helena Chui, MD), P30 AG012300 (PI Roger Rosenberg, MD), P30 AG049638 (PI Suzanne Craft, PhD), P50 AG005136 (PI Thomas Grabowski, MD), P50 AG033514 (PI Sanjay Asthana, MD, FRCP), P50 AG005681 (PI John Morris, MD), P50 AG047270 (PI Stephen Strittmatter, MD, PhD).

Funding Information:
Data collection and sharing for this project was funded by the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimag-ing Initiative (ADNI) (National Institutes of Health Grant U01 AG024904) and DOD ADNI (Department of Defense award number W81XWH-12-2-0012). ADNI is funded by the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, and through generous contributions from the following: AbbVie, Alzheimer’s Association; Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation; Araclon Biotech; BioClinica, Inc.; Biogen; Bristol-Myers Squibb Company; CereSpir, Inc.; Cogstate; Eisai Inc.; Elan Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Eli Lilly and Company; EuroImmun; F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd and its affiliated company Genentech, Inc.; Fujire-bio; GE Healthcare; IXICO Ltd.; Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy Research & Development, LLC.; Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development LLC.; Lumosity; Lundbeck; Merck & Co., Inc.; Meso Scale Diagnostics, LLC.; Neu-roRx Research; Neurotrack Technologies; Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation; Pfizer Inc.; Piramal Imaging; Servier; Takeda Pharmaceutical Company; and Transition Therapeutics. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research is providing funds to support ADNI clinical sites in Canada. Private sector contributions are facilitated by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (http://www.fnih.org). The grantee organization is the Northern California Institute for Research and Education, and the study is coordinated by the Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute at the University of Southern California. ADNI data are disseminated by the Laboratory for Neuro Imaging at the University of Southern California.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 - IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved.


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • back-transitions
  • clinical states
  • dementia
  • longitudinal studies
  • mild cognitive impairment
  • misdiagnosis


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