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Memory Complaints Indicate Higher Dementia Risk

Ann Neurol; 2018 Apr; Arvanitakis, et al

Memory complaints are common in older black and white persons, and relate to cognitive decline, dementia risk, and neurodegenerative pathologies, according to a recent study. A total of 4,015 community‐based persons (28% black; 74% women; mean baseline age = 78 years) were enrolled in 1 of 4 longitudinal cohort studies, and another 2,937 in a population‐based cohort. Researchers found:

  • Baseline memory complaints (n=1,310; 33% of 4,015) were associated with lower cognition and faster decline in all domains, during a mean follow‐up of 6 (SD= 2) years.
  • Persons with memory complaints had higher dementia risk and odds of pathologic Alzheimer disease, neocortical Lewy bodies, and other neurodegenerative pathologies.
  • Results for dementia risk were similar among blacks and whites.
  • Among older persons in the population‐based cohort with similar data, the population‐attributable risk for incident dementia due to memory complaints was 14.0% and did not vary between the black and white groups.


Arvanitakis Z, Leurgans SE, Fleischman DA, et al. Memory complaints, dementia, and neuropathology in older blacks and whites. Ann Neurol. 2018;83(4):718-726. doi:10.1002/ana.25189.