To explore the correlation between the cognitive functions and syndromes of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), and to provide evidence for clinical syndrome differentiation treatment.
Six hundred subjects from Dongzhimen Hospital and seven communities in Beijing, aged between 40 and 85 years, accepted neuropsychological assessments, imaging and biochemical examinations, and syndrome differentiation, from whom 159 aMCI patients, 213 normal control (NC) subjects and 171 Alzheimer’s dementia (AD) patients were screened out. Correlation between the cognitive functions and TCM syndromes in aMCI patients was analyzed.
Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score in aMCI patients was closely correlated with kidney essence vacuity and deficiency of blood and qi (r=–0.11, r=–0.11; P=0.003, P=0.015). Delayed Word Recall (DWR) score was correlated with kidney essence vacuity (r=–0.20, P=0.020). Instant Story Recall (ISR) and Delayed Story Recall (DSR) scores were respectively correlated with turbid phlegm blocking upper orifices (r=–0.11, r=–0.27; P=0.021, P=0.000). Language function was correlated with kidney essence vacuity and deficiency of blood and qi (r=–0.11, r=–0.13; P=0.042, P=0.007). Attention/calculation was also closely correlated with kidney essence vacuity and deficiency of blood and qi (r=–0.10, r=–0.21; P=0.039, P=0.010). Attention score of aMCI patients was correlated with excess of heat toxin syndrome (r=–0.29, P=0.026).
The memory decline of aMCI is correlated with kidney essence vacuity and turbid phlegm blocking upper orifices. Furthermore, turbid phlegm blocking upper orifices is correlated with episodic memory decline, which is closely related to AD. The aMCI patients with phlegm have the risk to progress into AD. Although other cognitive functions of aMCI remain relatively intact, the patients’ language function, attention/calculation and the whole cognitive function may be worsen as the aggravation of kidney essence vacuity, deficiency of blood and qi, phlegm and heat toxin, and may eventually lead to multiple cognitive domains impairment, even dementia.