Psychological Medicine



Memory complaints in a community sample aged 60–64 years: associations with cognitive functioning, psychiatric symptoms, medical conditions, APOE genotype, hippocampus and amygdala volumes, and white-matter hyperintensities


A. F. JORM a1c1, P. BUTTERWORTH a1, K. J. ANSTEY a1, H. CHRISTENSEN a1, S. EASTEAL a2, J. MALLER a1, K. A. MATHER a1, R. I. TURAKULOV a2, W. WEN a3 and P. SACHDEV a3
a1 Centre for Mental Health Research, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
a2 Centre for Bioinformation Science and John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
a3 School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, and Neuropsychiatric Institute, Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney, Australia

Article author query
jorm af   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
butterworth p   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
anstey kj   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
christensen h   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
easteal s   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
maller j   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
mather ka   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
turakulov ri   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
wen w   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
sachdev p   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 

Abstract

Background. Previous research has found that depression is a major cause of memory complaints. However, there is evidence that memory complaints also weakly predict cognitive decline and dementia. The present study examined a range of possible determinants of memory complaints, covering psychiatric and personality factors, medical history, cognitive test performance, and biological risk factors for dementia (APOE genotype, hippocampus and amygdala volumes, and white-matter hyperintensities).

Method. A community survey was carried out with 2546 persons aged 60–64 years living in Canberra and Queanbeyan, Australia. Participants were asked about memory problems which interfered with daily life and whether medical help had been sought. A randomly selected subsample of 476 persons was given a brain MRI scan.

Results. Participants with memory complaints were found to have poorer memory test performance, more depression and anxiety symptoms, have higher scores on personality traits involving negative affect, and to have worse physical health. Multivariate analyses showed that measures of cognitive performance did not make a unique contribution to the prediction of memory complaints above that of the other categories of predictors. Those with memory complaints did not differ on any of the biological risk factors for dementia.

Conclusion. In a community sample aged 60–64 years, memory complaints were most closely related to psychiatric symptoms, personality characteristics and poor physical health. There was no evidence of brain changes indicating early dementia.


Correspondence:
c1 Dr A. F. Jorm, Centre for Mental Health Research, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia. (Email: Anthony.Jorm@anu.edu.au)


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