Person-specific paths of cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease and their relation to age

Robert S. Wilson, David W. Gilley, David A. Bennett, Laurel A Beckett, Denis A. Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


Change in global and specific measures of cognitive function was studied in a cohort of 410 persons with Alzheimer's disease. Persons completed up to 5 annual evaluations; follow-up participation among survivors exceeded 90%. Average annual decline was 0.57 standard score units (95% confidence interval [CI]: -0.51 to -0.62) on a composite measure based on 17 individual tests and 3.26 points (95% CI: -3.06 to -3.46) on the Mini-Mental State Examination, but substantial heterogeneity was apparent. On both global and specific measures, rate of cognitive decline was reduced in older persons compared with younger persons. A similar effect was observed for estimated age of disease onset. The effect of age was approximately linear and was not attributable to education, sex, race, other conditions that impair cognition, or mortality. The results indicate that person-specific paths of cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease vary substantially and suggest that in clinical settings some of this variability is related to age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-28
Number of pages11
JournalPsychology and Aging
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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