Cognitive and functional changes associated with Aβ pathology and the progression to mild cognitive impairment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Cognitively-normal people with evidence of β-amyloid (Aβ) pathology and subtle cognitive dysfunction are believed to be at high risk for progression to mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer's disease (AD). Clinical trials in later stages of AD typically include a coprimary endpoint to demonstrate efficacy on both cognitive and functional assessments. Recent trials focus on cognitively-normal people, but functional decline has not been explored for trial designs in this group. The goal of this study was therefore to characterize cognitive and functional decline in (1) cognitively-normal people converting to mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and (2) cognitively-normal β-amyloid-positive (Aβ+) people. Specifically, we sought to identify and compare the cognitive and functional assessments and their weighted combinations that maximize the longitudinal decline specific to these 2 groups. We studied 68 people who converted from normal cognition to MCI and 70 nonconverters, as well as 137 Aβ+ and 210 β-amyloid-negative cognitively-normal people. We used bootstrap aggregation and cross-validated mixed-models to estimate the distribution of weights applied to cognitive and functional outcomes to form composites. We also evaluated best subset optimization. Using optimized composites, we estimated statistical power for a variety of clinical trial scenarios. Overall, 55.4% of cognitively-normal to MCI converters were Aβ+. Large gains in power estimates were obtained when requiring participants to have both subtle cognitive dysfunction and Aβ pathology compared with requiring Aβ pathology alone. Additional power resulted when including functional as well as cognitive outcomes as part of the composite. Composites formed by applying equal weights to all measures provided the highest estimates of cross-validated power, although similar to both continuous weight optimization and best subset optimization. Using a composite to detect a 30% slowing of decline, 80% power was obtained for predicted Aβ+ converters with 375 completers/arm for a 30-month trial using a combination of cognitive/ functional measures. In the Aβ+ group, power to approach levels suitable for a phase III clinical trial would require considerably larger sample sizes. Composites incorporating both cognitive and functional measures may substantially increase the power of a trial in a preclinical (Aβ+) AD population with subtle evidence of cognitive dysfunction.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • University of Southern California
  • Skåne University Hospital
  • University of California
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Gerontology, specializing in Medical and Health Sciences
  • Neurology

Keywords

  • Clinical trials, Cognition, Composite, Function, Mild cognitive impairment, β-amyloid
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-181
Number of pages10
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Volume48
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Dec
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes