Clinical and demographic parameters predict the progression from mild cognitive impairment to dementia in elderly patients

Giovanni Zuliani, Michele Polastri, Tommaso Romagnoli, Lisa Marabini, Davide Seripa, Carlo Cervellati, Amedeo Zurlo, Angelina Passaro, Gloria Brombo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To evaluate the possibility of predicting the risk of progression from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to dementia using a combination of clinical/demographic parameters. Methods: A total of 462 MCI elderly patients (follow-up: 33 months). Variable measured included cognitive functions, age, gender, MCI type, education, comorbidities, clinical chemistry, and functional status. Results: Amnestic type (aMCI) represented 63% of the sample, non-amnestic (naMCI) 37%; 190 subjects progressed to dementia, 49% among aMCI, and 28% among naMCI. At Cox multivariate regression analysis, only MMSE (one point increase HR 0.84; 95% CI 0.79–0.90), aMCI (HR 2.35; 95% CI 1.39–3.98), and age (1 year increase HR 1.05; 95% CI 1.01–1.10) were independently associated with progression to dementia. A score was created based on these dichotomized variables (score 0–3): age (≥ or < 78 years), MMSE score (≥ or < 25/30) and aMCI type. The conversion rate progressed from 6% in subjects with score 0 (negative predictive value: 0.94), to 31% in individuals with score 1, to 53% in subjects with score 2, to 72% in individuals with score 3 (positive predictive value: 0.72). ROC curve analysis showed an area under the curve of 0.72 (95% CI 0.66–0.75, p 0.0001). Conclusions: We have described a simple score, based on previously recognized predictors such as age, MMSE, and MCI type, which may be useful for an initial stratification of the risk of progression to dementia in patients affected by MCI. The score might help the clinicians to evaluate the need for more expansive/invasive examinations and for a closer follow-up in MCI patients.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAging clinical and experimental research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Aging
  • Cox regression
  • Dementia
  • Follow-up
  • Mild cognitive impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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