An investigation of the characteristics of people with Subjective Cognitive Decline and the effects of interventions on cognitive and psychological variables

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Abstract

Current findings suggest that neurodegeneration might start years before a clinical diagnosis of dementia can be made. People at this stage might experience a subjective worsening of their memory, a condition known as Subjective Cognitive Decline (SCD). However, SCD is also a common symptom that might be related to other factors like depression or anxiety. Today, there are no interventions available for people with SCD. The aim of this study was to describe participants with SCD and a smaller sample of people with Functional Cognitive Disorder (FCD) and test the effectiveness of two interventions in people with SCD. Moreover, it investigated the role of genetics in SCD and explored the relation between SCD and Health Anxiety.
It was found that people with SCD score lower than average on the Rey-Auditory Verbal Learning test and people with FCD are more likely to fail a performance validity test. Moreover, SCD participants who are also ApoE4 carriers were more likely to be slower on the working memory task and reported higher levels of stress and depression. In addition to that, participants who were less anxious about their health, were more likely to be aware of their thoughts and feelings. Lastly, this study showed that Mindfulness meditation helped people with SCD to improve their well-being.
These findings constitute a starting point for further understanding SCD and identifying people at a higher risk of dementia. Some of the analyses were exploratory and they constitute a starting point for shaping new hypotheses.
Date of Award29 Sep 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorMargaret Newson (Supervisor) & E J Coulthard (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • subjective, cognitive, decline, dementia, cognition, psychological, intervention

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