Longitudinal decline in mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease: Analyses of placebo data from clinical trials

Ronald G. Thomas, Marilyn Albert, Ronald C. Petersen, Paul S. Aisen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Introduction Accurate estimates of cognitive and clinical decline rates are essential to the design of clinical trials in Alzheimer's disease (AD) dementia. Methods To investigate the trajectories of individuals enrolled in therapeutic trials in mild-to-moderate AD, we analyzed the placebo arm data from 20 clinical trials including over 4500 subjects. We analyzed decline as measured by two cognitive instruments, the cognitive subscale of the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale (ADAScog) and the Mini-Mental State Examination, and one clinical rating scale, the Clinical Dementia Rating Sum of Boxes. Results Trajectories were generally similar across trials and nearly linear. Greater cognitive impairment at baseline, younger age, and greater education were associated with increased rate of cognitive decline. Effect sizes for the ADAScog were generated as a function of population characteristics. Discussion These data will inform the design of future studies of potential disease-modifying therapies for mild-to-moderate AD dementia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)598-603
Number of pages6
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2016


  • Alzheimer's dementia
  • Cognitive assessment
  • Therapeutic trials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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