Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a chronic, progressive, degenerative disease characterized by cognitive dysfunction, including verbal memory loss. Studies were lacking in examining the longitudinal effect of polygenic hazard score on the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test–Delayed Total (AVDELTOT) score (a common measure of verbal memory). A key step in analyzing longitudinal changes in cognitive measures using a linear mixed model (LMM) is choosing a suitable covariance structure.
The study aims to determine the association between the polygenic hazard score and the AVDELTOT score accounting for repeated measures (the covariance structure).
The AVDELTOT scores were collected at baseline, 12 months, 24 months, 36 months, and 48 months from 283 participants with AD, 347 with cognitive normal, and 846 with mild cognitive impairment in the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. The Bayesian information criterion statistic was used to select the best covariance structure from 10 covariance structures in longitudinal analysis of AVDELTOT scores. The multivariable LMM was used to investigate the effect of polygenic hazard score status (low vs. medium vs. high) on changes in AVDELTOT scores while adjusted for age, gender, education, APOE-ε4 genotype, and baseline Mini-Mental State Examination score.
One-way analysis of variance revealed significant differences in AVDELTOT scores, Mini-Mental State Examination scores, and polygenic hazard scores among AD diagnoses at baseline. Bayesian information criterion favored the compound symmetry covariance structure in the LMM analysis. Using the multivariate LMM, the APOE-ε4 allele and high polygenic hazard score value was significantly associated with AVDELTOT declines. Significant polygenic hazard score status by follow-up visit interactions was discovered.
Our findings provide the first evidence of the effect of polygenic hazard score status and APOE-ε4 allele on declines in verbal memory in people with AD.