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November 1990

Screening for Early Dementia Using Memory Complaints From Patients and Relatives

Author Affiliations

From the University Hospital (Drs McGlone, Gupta, Humphrey, Oppenheimer, and Mirsen); and the University of Western Ontario (Drs McGlone, Oppenheimer, and Evans), London, Ontario. Drs. McGlone, Gupta, Humphrey, and Mirsen are now with the Department of Psychology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia; Department of Neurology, Georgetown University, Washington, DC; King's College, University of Western Ontario, London; and Division of Neurology, Cooper Hospital, University Medical Center, Camden, NJ, respectively.

Arch Neurol. 1990;47(11):1189-1193. doi:10.1001/archneur.1990.00530110043015

• This study examined whether the subjective impression of memory function might differentiate healthy elderly subjects from patients with memory complaints, and whether memory complaints differed between patients with and without a dementing illness. Both self-assessment and relatives' responses on a new memory questionnaire differentiated patient groups from control subjects. The relatives' form measuring deterioration in memory function over time identified dementing individuals from those with nondementing causes for their memory complaints. Factor analysis indicated that patients' memory complaints correlated with depression rather than objective memory performance, while relatives' ratings correlated with objective memory scores, not depression. Stepwise discriminant function analyses showed that objective memory testing greatly improved specificity but not sensitivity of the subjective memory questionnaire alone.