Cognitive Variability Predicts Incident Alzheimer's Disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment Comparable to a Cerebrospinal Fluid Biomarker.J Alzheimers Dis. 2018; 61(1):79-89.JA
Alzheimer's disease (AD) biomarkers are emerging as critically important for disease detection and monitoring. Most biomarkers are obtained through invasive, resource-intense procedures. A cognitive marker, intra-individual cognitive variability (IICV) may provide an alternative or adjunct marker of disease risk for individuals unable or disinclined to undergo lumbar puncture.
To contrast risk of incident AD and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) associated with IICV to risk associated with well-established biomarkers: cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) phosphorylated tau protein (p-tau181) and amyloid-β 42 (Aβ42) peptide.
Dispersion in cognitive performance, IICV, was estimated with a published algorithm, and included Trail Making Test A and B, Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT), and the American National Adult Reading Test (ANART). CSF biomarkers were expressed as a ratio: p-tau181/Aβ42, wherein high values signified pathognomonic profiles. Logistic regression models included longitudinal data from 349 Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) participants who completed lumbar puncture. All subjects were cognitively healthy (n = 105) or diagnosed with MCI (n = 244) at baseline. We examined odds of conversion associated with baseline elevations in IICV and/or ratio of CSF p-tau181/Aβ42.
When included in models alone or in combination with CSF p-tau181/Aβ42, one standard IICV unit higher was associated with an estimated odds ratio for incident AD or MCI of 2.81 (95% CI: 1.83-4.33) in the most inclusive sample, and an odds ratio of 3.41 (95% CI: 2.03-5.73) when restricted to participants with MCI. Iterative analyses suggested that IICV independently improved model fit even when individual index components were included in comparative models.
These analyses provide preliminary support for IICV as a marker of incident AD and MCI. This easily-disseminated, non-invasive marker compared favorably to well-established CSF biomarkers.