Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychological Science



First Reader/Committee Chair

Jones, Jacob


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most commonly occurring neurodegenerative disease characterized by deficits in patient cognition. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is defined as an intermediate stage between cognitively normal (CN) and dementia in which the individual experiences some impairment but can function independently. Gold standard MCI criteria requires a subjective cognitive complaint (SCC) in which a patient acknowledges a decline in cognitive ability, however past findings on its validity as a measure of objective impairment have been inconsistent. Biomarkers found in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and indicative of neurodegeneration are also used to examine AD progression. Our study investigates if inclusion of SCC in MCI criteria improves prediction of cognitive decline over time and/or affects levels of CSF biomarkers in AD patients. This is a secondary analysis using data from the Alzheimer’s Data Neuroimaging Initiative. Participants completed a battery of neurocognitive assessments and were assigned into one of 3 groups based first on MCI gold standard criteria by Petersen (2004), then on newer proposed MCI criteria by Jak-Bondi (2014): CN, MCI without SCC, or MCI with SCC. CSF biomarkers amyloid beta (AB), tau, and phosphorylated tau (p-tau) were also collected via a lumbar puncture. Multilevel modeling was used to examine whether cognitive decline along with CSF biomarker levels differed longitudinally among the 3 groups. There were no significant main effects or longitudinal differences between those with and without SCC in global cognition score or CSF biomarker ratio levels. These findings demonstrate the inclusion of SCC in MCI criteria does not make a meaningful difference in objective performance or biomarkers of neurodegeneration.