Application of neuropsychological criteria to classify mild cognitive impairment in the active study.

Kelsey R. Thomas, Sarah E. Cook, Mark W. Bondi, Frederick W. Unverzagt, Alden L. Gross, Sherry L. Willis, Michael Marsiske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Comprehensive neuropsychological criteria (NP criteria) for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) has reduced diagnostic errors and better predicted progression to dementia than conventional MCI criteria that rely on a single impaired score and/or subjective report. This study aimed to implement an actuarial approach to classifying MCI in the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) study. Method: ACTIVE study participants (N = 2,755) were classified as cognitively normal (CN) or as having MCI using NP criteria. Estimated proportion of MCI participants and reversion rates were examined as well as baseline characteristics by MCI subtype. Mixed effect models examined associations of MCI subtype with 10-year trajectories of self-reported independence and difficulty performing instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). Results: The proportion of MCI participants was estimated to be 18.8%. Of those with MCI at baseline, 19.2% reverted to CN status for all subsequent visits. At baseline, the multidomain-amnestic MCI group generally had the greatest breadth and depth of cognitive impairment and reported the most IADL difficulty. Longitudinally, MCI participants showed faster IADL decline than CN participants (multidomain-amnestic MCI > single domain-amnestic MCI > nonamnestic MCI). Conclusion: NP criteria identified a proportion of MCI and reversion rate within ACTIVE that is consistent with prior studies involving community-dwelling samples. The pattern of everyday functioning change suggests that being classified as MCI, particularly amnestic MCI, is predictive of future loss of independence. Future work will apply these classifications in ACTIVE to better understand the relationships between MCI and health, social, and cognitive intervention-related factors. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)Key Points—Question: This article tests the use of neuropsychological criteria for the classification of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) study. Findings: The proportion of ACTIVE study participants classified as MCI (18.8%) and the rates of reversion from MCI to cognitively normal using the neuropsychological criteria were consistent with other studies, and MCI participants, particularly those with a memory impairment, had the fastest decline in everyday functioning. Importance: Results show that this approach to classifying MCI is extremely flexible and produced meaningful MCI classifications in a study that did not initially intend to identify cognitive impairment. Next Steps: Future research will use these MCI classifications in ACTIVE to examine cognitive training effects among participants classified as MCI or whether cognitive training reduces risk of future MCI classification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)862-873
Number of pages12
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2020


  • cognitive aging
  • diagnostic criteria
  • everyday functioning
  • longitudinal trajectories
  • mild cognitive impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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