Early detection of dementia: finding the best combination of cognitive and non-cognitive markers of preclinical dementia

PI: Erika Jonsson Laukka, erika.jonsson.laukka@ki.se

Detecting dementia as early as possible is essential to improving the success rates of different health care interventions, increasing the quality of life of older adults and their relatives, and reducing the societal costs of dementia.

Markers of incipient dementia, such as cognitive deficits, brain atrophy, and levels of amyloid beta and tau in cerebrospinal fluid, are present before people fulfill the diagnostic criteria for dementia. An approach that combines cognitive and non-cognitive preclinical markers is needed to improve our ability to detect people at risk for dementia.

This project aims to deepen our knowledge of cognitive and biological markers of preclinical dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. We will examine the usefulness of different cognitive measures in predicting dementia and compare these to biomarkers such as those observable in structural neuroimaging and cerebrospinal fluid. Our research questions include: What is the most potent preclinical marker of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease? How much can prediction accuracy be increased if we combine several preclinical markers? What is the optimal combination of preclinical markers for predicting dementia?

Data on neuropsychological test performance, structural neuroimaging, and dementia diagnosis are taken from the existing longitudinal, population-based Swedish National Study on Aging and Care in Kungsholmen (SNAC-K). Other data come from the Memory Clinic at the Karolinska University Hospital.

The project is funded by the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life, and Welfare (Forte).