During the mild cognitive impairment (MCI) stage, clinicians may be able to detect very early features of AD that
are distinct from other causes of memory loss or other forms of cognitive impairment.2,3
These features can be detected using validated tools such as Mini-Cog, General Practitioner Assessment of
Cognition (GPCOG), Memory Impairment Screen (MIS), and Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA).3,4
The rate of cognitive decline increases sharply in the years before dementia. Since MCI due to AD is the earliest
stage of Alzheimer’s disease with observable symptoms, this leaves limited time between diagnosis and
dementia—with estimates ranging from 2 to 6 years.
In one study, patients with MCI due to AD were shown to convert to AD dementia at an annual rate of 31%.8
Biomarkers provide early indications of abnormal pathophysiological changes related to Alzheimer's disease. While biomarker testing is not currently recommended for routine clinical practice, it may be a useful tool when deemed appropriate by the clinician. In the future, it is anticipated that positron emission tomography (PET) imaging or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers will play a greater role and be used to detect amyloid burden and help support the early detection of Alzheimer's disease at the MCI due to AD stage.
Early and accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease is important for early intervention. Identifying biomarkers may serve as the mechanism to improve early and accurate diagnosis.14,15