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EXECUTIVE FUNCTION PREDICTS THE VALIDITY OF SUBJECTIVE MEMORY COMPLAINTS IN OLDER ADULTS BEYOND DEMOGRAPHIC, EMOTIONAL, AND CLINICAL FACTORS

R.-Y. Chao, T.-F. Chen, Y.-L. Chang

Background: Although evidence suggests that subjective memory complaints (SMCs) could be a risk factor for dementia, the relationship between SMCs and objective memory performance remains controversial. Old adults with or without mild cognitive impairment (MCI) may represent a highly heterogeneous group, based partly on the demonstrated variability in the level of executive function among those individuals. It is reasonable to speculate that the accuracy of the memory-monitoring ability could be affected by the level of executive function in old adults. Objective: This study investigated the effects of executive function level on the consistency between SMCs and objective memory performance while simultaneously considering demographic and clinical variables in nondemented older adults. Setting: Participants were recruited from both the memory clinics and local communities. Participants: Participants comprised 65 cognitively normal (CN) older adults and 54 patients with MCI. Measurements: Discrepancy scores between subjective memory evaluation and objective memory performance were calculated to determine the degree and directionality of the concordance between subjective and objective measures. Demographic, emotional, genetic, and clinical information as well as several executive function measurements were collected. Results: The CN and MCI groups exhibited similar degrees of SMC; however, the patients with MCI were more likely to overestimate their objective memory ability, whereas the CN adults were more likely to underestimate their objective memory ability. The results also revealed that symptoms of depression, group membership, and the executive function level together predicted the discrepancy between the subjective and objective measures of memory function; however, the executive function level retained its unique predictive ability even after the symptoms of depression, group membership, and other factors were controlled for. Conclusion: Although both noncognitive and cognitive factors were necessary for consideration, the level of executive function may play a unique role in understanding the equivocal relationship of the concurrence between subjective complaints and objective function measures. Through a comprehensive evaluation, high-risk individuals (i.e., CN individuals heightened self-awareness of memory changes) may possibly be identified or provided with the necessary intervention during stages at which objective cognitive impairment remains clinically unapparent.

CITATION:
R.-Y. Chao ; T.-F. Chen ; Y.-L. Chang (2020): Executive Function Predicts the Validity of Subjective Memory Complaints in Older Adults beyond Demographic, Emotional, and Clinical Factors. The Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease (JPAD). http://dx.doi.org/10.14283/jpad.2020.61

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