Little is known about the population-based prevalence of neuropsychiatric symptoms in mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
To estimate the prevalence of neuropsychiatric symptoms in MCI and normal cognitive aging in a defined population.
Cross-sectional study derived from an ongoing population-based prospective cohort study.
The Mayo Clinic Study of Aging.
We studied a random sample of 1969 non-demented participants out of the target population of 9965 elderly persons residing in Olmsted County on the prevalence date (October 1, 2004). Neuropsychiatric data were available on 319 of the 329 MCI subjects (97.0%) and on 1590 of the 1640 cognitively normal subjects (97.0%).
Neurological, cognitive, and neuropsychiatric data were gathered from the study participants. A classification of normal cognitive aging, MCI, and dementia was adjudicated by an expert consensus panel. Accordingly, 329 subjects were classified as having MCI and the remaining 1640 subjects were classified as cognitively normal.
Main Outcome Measure
The Neuropsychiatric Inventory Questionnaire (NPI-Q).
Multi-variable logistic regression analyses were conducted, after adjusting for age, sex, and education. By taking into consideration both the odds ratio and the frequency of a symptom, the most distinguishing features between the 2 groups were apathy (odds ratio [OR], 4.53; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 3.11–6.60; P<.001), agitation (OR, 3.60; 95% CI, 2.18–5.92; P<.001), anxiety (OR, 3.00; 95% CI, 2.01–4.48; P<.001), irritability (OR, 2.99; 95% CI, 2.11–4.22; P<.001), and depression (OR, 2.78; 95% CI, 2.06–3.76; P<.001). Delusion had the highest OR (8.12; 95% CI, 2.92–22.60; P<.001); however, it was rare in both cognitively normal subjects (6/1590=0.4%) and MCI (11/319=3.4%). Thus, the population attributable risk for delusion was only 2.62% as compared to 14.60% for apathy.
Non-psychotic symptoms affected approximately 50% of subjects with MCI and 25% of cognitively normal subjects. By contrast, psychotic symptoms were rare.