Aims: To assess the relationships between early and late antemortem measures of dementia severity and Alzheimer disease (AD) neuropathology severity. Methods: 40 residents of a nursing home, average age at death 82.0, participated in this longitudinal cohort study with postmortem assessment. Severity of dementia was measured by Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) at two time points, averaging 4.5 and 1.0 years before death. Densities of postmortem neuritic plaques (NPs) and neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) were measured in the cerebral cortex, hippocampus, and entorhinal cortex. Results: For most brain areas, both early and late CDRs were significantly associated with NPs and NFTs. CDRs assessed proximal to death predicted NFTs beyond the contribution of early CDRs. NPs were predicted by both early and late CDRs. NPs were predictive of both early and late CDRs after controlling for NFTs. NFTs were only associated significantly with late CDR in the cerebral cortex after controlling for NPs. Conclusions: Even if assessed several years before death, dementia severity is associated with AD neuropathology. NPs are more strongly associated with dementia severity than NFTs. NFTs consistently associate better with late than early CDR, suggesting that these neuropathological changes may occur relatively later in the course of the disease.

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