Latent classes of course in Alzheimer's disease and predictors: The Cache County Dementia Progression Study

Jeannie Marie S. Leoutsakos, Sarah N. Forrester, Christopher D. Corcoran, Maria C. Norton, Peter V. Rabins, Martin I. Steinberg, Joann T. Tschanz, Constantine G. Lyketsos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Objective Several longitudinal studies of Alzheimer's disease (AD) report heterogeneity in progression. We sought to identify groups (classes) of progression trajectories in the population-based Cache County Dementia Progression Study (N = 328) and to identify baseline predictors of membership for each group. Methods We used parallel-process growth mixture models to identify latent classes of trajectories on the basis of Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) and Clinical Dementia Rating sum of boxes scores over time. We then used bias-corrected multinomial logistic regression to model baseline predictors of latent class membership. We constructed receiver operating characteristic curves to demonstrate relative predictive utility of successive sets of predictors. Results We fit four latent classes; class 1 was the largest (72%) and had the slowest progression. Classes 2 (8%), 3 (11%), and 4 (8%) had more rapid worsening. In univariate analyses, longer dementia duration, presence of psychosis, and worse baseline MMSE and Clinical Dementia Rating sum of boxes were associated with membership in class 2, relative to class 1. Lower education was associated with membership in class 3. In the multivariate model, only MMSE remained a statistically significant predictor of class membership. Receiver operating characteristic areas under the curve were 0.98, 0.88, and 0.67, for classes 2, 3, and 4 relative to class 1. Conclusions Heterogeneity in AD course can be usefully characterized using growth mixture models. The majority belonged to a class characterized by slower decline than is typically reported in clinical samples. Class membership could be predicted using baseline covariates. Further study may advance our prediction of AD course at the population level and in turn shed light on the pathophysiology of progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)824-832
Number of pages9
JournalInternational journal of geriatric psychiatry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • Alzheimer
  • disease course
  • growth mixture model
  • trajectory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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