OBJECTIVE: Our objective was to examine the quantity and profile of subjective cognitive complaints in young patients as compared with elderly patients referred to a memory clinic.
METHODS: Patients were consecutively recruited from the Copenhagen University Hospital Memory Clinic at Rigshospitalet. In total, 307 patients and 149 age-matched healthy controls were included. Patients were classified in 4 diagnostic groups: dementia, mild cognitive impairment, affective disorders and no cognitive impairment. Subjective memory was assessed with subjective memory complaints (SMC) scale. Global cognitive functions were assessed with the Mini-mental state examination (MMSE) and Addenbrooke's cognitive examination (ACE), and symptoms of depression were rated with Major Depression Inventory (MDI). All interviews and the diagnostic conclusion were blinded to the SMC score.
RESULTS: We found that young patients with dementia have a significantly higher level and a different profile of subjective cognitive complaints as compared with elderly patients with dementia. Furthermore, young patients, diagnosed with an affective disorder, had the highest level of subjective cognitive complaints of all patients in a memory clinic. The age of the patients and MDI score (but not MMSE or ACE) had significant impact on the level of subjective cognitive complaints.
CONCLUSIONS: We have established that young patients with dementia have a different profile of subjective cognitive complaints than elderly patients, and further studies are needed to clarify possible relation to specific subtypes of dementia. Altogether, a systematic interview on subjective cognitive complaints may contribute to the diagnostic evaluation of patients referred to a memory clinic. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.