06 October 2018
30 October 2018
Despite the progressive nature of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, it is observed that many individuals that are diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in one clinical assessment, may return back to normal cognition (CN) in a subsequent assessment. Less frequently, such ‘back-transitions’ are also observed in people that had already been diagnosed with later stages of dementia. In this study, an analysis was performed on two longitudinal cohort datasets provided by 1) the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) and 2) the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Centre (NACC). The focus is on the observed improvement of individuals’ clinical condition recorded in these datasets to explore potential associations with different factors. It is shown that, in both datasets, transitions from MCI to CN are significantly associated with younger age, better cognitive function, and the absence of ApoE ɛ4 alleles. Better cognitive function and in some cases the absence of ApoE ɛ4 alleles are also significantly associated with transitions from types of dementia to less severe clinical states. The effect of gender and education is not clear-cut in these datasets, although highly educated people who reach MCI tend to be more likely to show an improvement in their clinical state. The potential effect of other factors such as changes in symptoms of depression is also discussed. Although improved clinical outcomes can be associated with many factors, better diagnostic tools are required to provide insight into whether such improvements are a result of misdiagnosis, and if they are not, whether they are linked to improvements in the underlying neuropathological condition.