We sought to understand the trajectory of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) better by examining longitudinally different MCI subtypes and progression to dementia and reversion to normal cognition in a community sample.Methods:
We evaluated the stability of MCI subtypes and risk of dementia over 4 biennial assessments as part of an ongoing prospective cohort study, the Sydney Memory and Ageing Study.Results:
While prevalence of MCI and different MCI subtypes remains relatively stable across all assessments, reversion from MCI and transitions between different MCI subtypes were common. Up to 46.5% of participants classified with MCI at baseline reverted at some point during follow-up. The majority (83.8%) of participants with incident dementia were diagnosed with MCI 2 years prior to their dementia diagnosis. Both reverters and participants with stable MCI were at an increased risk of progression to dementia compared to those without MCI at baseline (HR 6.4, p = 0.02, and HR 24.7, p < 0.001, respectively); however, the risk of dementia in participants with MCI who did not revert was higher than in reverters (HR 2.5, p = 0.01). This effect was specific to amnestic subtypes (MCI reverters vs nonreverters: amnestic MCI HR 3.3, p = 0.006; nonamnestic MCI: HR 1.3, p = 0.67).Conclusion:
Our findings indicate that the relevance of reversion for progression risk depends on the MCI subtype. Subtype specificity and longitudinal characterization are required for the reliable identification of individuals at high risk of developing dementia.