Personal memory function in mild cognitive impairment and subjective memory complaints: Results from the Australian imaging, biomarkers, and lifestyle (AIBL) study of ageing
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Medical Sciences
Background: Autobiographical memory (ABM) refers to the recollection of individual experiences, while personal semantic memory (PSM) refers to personally relevant, but shared, facts. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is routinely diagnosed with the aid of neuropsychological tests, which do not tap the ABM and PSM domains. Objective: We aimed to characterize the nature of ABM and PSM retrieval in cognitively healthy (HC) memory complainers, non-memory complainers, and MCI participants, and to investigate the relationship between neuropsychological tests and personal memory. Methods: Gender- and education-matched participants (HC = 80 and MCI = 43) completed the Episodic ABM Interview (EAMI) and a battery of neuropsychological tests. Results: ABM and PSM did not differ between complainers and non-complainers, but were poorer in MCI participants, after accounting for age and depressive symptomatology. There were significant associations between personal memory and objective memory measures were found in MCI participants, but standard cognitive measures were more sensitive to MCI. Conclusion: Personal memory was compromised in MCI, reflected by lower scores on the EAMI. Memory complaining, assessed by current approaches, did not have an impact on personal memory. Standard subjective questionnaires might not reflect the sorts of concerns that bring individuals to clinical attention. Understanding personal memory function in the elderly may aid in the development of a more sensitive measure of subjective memory concerns.