DOI: 10.1002/alz.076584 ISSN: 1552-5260

A short‐hybrid scale for detecting anosognosia from the prodromal stage of Alzheimer’s disease

Katia Andrade, Thomas Guieysse, Marion Houot, Dimitrios Pantazis
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Neurology (clinical)
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Health Policy
  • Epidemiology



While not originally developed for this purpose, evidence suggests that the Healthy Aging Brain Care Monitor questionnaire (HABC‐M; Monahan et al, 2012, 2014) may be a valuable instrument for assessing unawareness of cognitive decline (i.e., anosognosia) from preclinical stages of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) (Cacciamani et al, 2017). This is relevant because anosognosia may delay AD diagnosis and therapeutic interventions, with adverse consequences for patients and caregivers. However, several open questions remain: What is the actual effectiveness of this instrument across the AD spectrum? How do the cognitive, functional, and psychological subscales of the HABC‐M differ in their sensitivity to anosognosia in AD? Does the caregiver burden subscale provide additional information about AD patient’s anosognosia? The present study aimed to address these specific questions.


The HABC‐M was administered to 60 participants (30 AD patients and 30 healthy controls) and their partners (caregivers/informants). A measure of self‐awareness was then estimated by computing the discrepancy scores between the participants and their partners for the different subscales of HABC‐M (with the exception of the caregiver burden subscale, which is a caregiver‐exclusive questionnaire). To evaluate whether these measures can discriminate between patients at different stages of AD and controls, we fit linear models adjusted for age, sex, and education, and computed receiver operating characteristic curves.


All HABC‐M discrepancy scores, as well as the caregiver burden score, were able to discriminate controls from patients in distinct AD stages. For best performance, the area‐under‐curve for the HABC‐M cognitive subscale discriminated prodromal AD versus controls with a value 0.88 [95% CI: 0.78;0.97]. Adding the caregiver burden score raised it to 0.94 [0.86;0.99].


The HABC‐M cognitive subscale (six items) can detect anosognosia from the earliest stages of AD. Separately, the caregiver burden subscale (four items) may corroborate the suspicion of anosognosia. A short‐hybrid scale combining these 10 items, instead of the 31 items of the total HABC‐M questionnaire, could provide a practical and efficient instrument for detection of anosognosia in the clinical setting. Importantly, such an instrument could further contribute to a timely AD diagnosis.

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