A novel cognitive assessment paradigm to detect Pre-mild cognitive impairment (PreMCI) and the relationship to biological markers of Alzheimer's disease

Elizabeth Crocco, David Loewenstein, Rosie Curiel Cid, Noam Alperin, Sara J Czaja, Philip D Harvey, Xiaoyan Sun, Joshua D Lenchus, Arlene Raffo, Ailyn Peñate, Jose Melo, Lee Sang, Rosemery Valdivia, Karen Cardenas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Objective A number of older adults obtain normal scores on formal cognitive tests, but present clinical concerns that raise suspicion of cognitive decline. Despite not meeting full criteria for Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), these PreMCI states confer risk for progression to Alzheimer's disease (AD). This investigation addressed a pressing need to identify cognitive measures that are sensitive to PreMCI and are associated with brain biomarkers of neurodegeneration. Method Participants included 49 older adults with a clinical history suggestive of cognitive decline but normal scores on an array of neuropsychological measures, thus not meeting formal criteria for MCI. The performance of these PreMCI participants were compared to 117 cognitively normal (CN) elders on the LASSI-L, a cognitive stress test that uniquely assesses the failure to recover from proactive semantic interference effects (frPSI). Finally, a subset of these individuals had volumetric analyses based on MRI scans. Results PreMCI participants evidenced greater LASSI- L deficits, particularly with regards to frPSI and delayed recall, relative to the CN group. No differences on MRI measures were observed. Controlling for false discovery rate (FDR), frPSI was uniquely related to increased dilatation of the inferior lateral ventricle and decreased MRI volumes in the hippocampus, precuneus, superior parietal region, and other AD prone areas. In contrast, other LASSI-L indices and standard memory tests were not related to volumetric findings. Conclusions Despite equivalent performance on traditional memory measures, the frPSI distinguished between PreMCI and CN elders and was associated with reductions in brain volume in numerous AD-relevant brain regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-38
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018



  • MCI
  • MRI
  • Preclinical Alzheimer's
  • Semantic interference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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