Early-onset Alzheimer's disease shows a distinct neuropsychological profile and more aggressive trajectories of cognitive decline than late-onset
Ann Clin Transl Neurol. 2022 Dec;9(12):1962-1973. doi: 10.1002/acn3.51689. Epub 2022 Nov 17.
OBJECTIVES: Early- and late-onset Alzheimer's disease (EOAD and LOAD) share the same neuropathological traits but show distinct cognitive features. We aimed to explore baseline and longitudinal outcomes of global and domain-specific cognitive function in a well characterized cohort of patients with a biomarker-based diagnosis.
METHODS: In this retrospective cohort study, 195 participants were included and classified according to their age, clinical status, and CSF AD biomarker profile: 89 EOAD, 37 LOAD, 46 young healthy controls (age ≤ 65 years), and 23 old healthy controls (>65 years). All subjects underwent clinical and neuropsychological assessment, neuroimaging, APOE genotyping and lumbar puncture.
RESULTS: We found distinct neuropsychological profiles between EOAD and LOAD at the time of diagnosis. Both groups showed similar performances on memory and language domains, but the EOAD patients displayed worsened deficits in visual perception, praxis, and executive tasks (p < 0.05). Longitudinally, cognitive decline in EOAD was more pronounced than LOAD in the global outcomes at the expense of these non-amnestic domains. We found that years of education significantly influenced the decline in most of the neuropsychological tests. Besides, the APOE ε4 status showed a significant effect on the decline of memory-related tasks within the EOAD cohort (p < 0.05).
INTERPRETATION: Age of onset is a main factor shaping the cognitive trajectories in AD patients, with younger age driving to a steeper decline of the non-memory domains. Years of education are related to a transversal decline in all cognitive domains and APOE ε4 status to a specific decline in memory performance in EOAD.