Mild cognitive dysfunction: An epidemiological perspective with an emphasis on African Americans

Frederick W. Unverzagt, Gao Sujuan Gao, Kathleen A. Lane, Christopher Callahan, Adesola Ogunniyi, Olusegun Baiyewu, Oye Gureje, Kathleen S. Hall, Hugh C. Hendrie

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

25 Scopus citations


This review begins with a historical accounting of the evolution of the concept of mild cognitive dysfunction, including nomenclature and criteria from Kral to Petersen. A critical analysis of the main elements relating to assessment and diagnosis of mild cognitive dysfunction is provided. Methodological limitations in design, measurement, and characterization, especially as they relate to older African Americans, are identified. Data from a 15-year longitudinal study of community-dwelling African Americans in Indianapolis, Indiana, indicate a 23% prevalence of all-cause mild cognitive dysfunction, with approximately 25% progressing to dementia in 2 years and another 25% reverting to normal cognition in the same interval. Factors contributing to this longitudinal variability in outcomes are reviewed, including the role of medical health factors. The review closes with suggestions for next steps in the epidemiological research of mild cognitive impairment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-226
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • Aging
  • Cognition
  • Dementia
  • Epidemiology
  • Memory
  • Mild cognitive impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Neuroscience(all)

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