Mild Cognitive Impairment

  • Definition

    Mild cognitive impairment–amnestic type (MCI-AT) is mild, repeated memory loss. It lies between the normal memory loss of aging and the more serious conditions of dementia and Alzheimer's disease (AD). MCI-AT only involves problems with memory.
    People with MCI-AT who are over age 65 have a higher chance of developing dementia and Alzheimer's. However, many people with MCI-AT never develop these disorders. Some even return to normal.
    Areas of the Brain
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  • Medications
    Researchers are currently studying the effects that several medications may have on slowing cognitive decline. These include:
  • Causes

    The causes are not clear. However, genetic factors may be a cause.
  • Medications
    Researchers are currently studying the effects that several medications may have on slowing cognitive decline. These include:
  • Risk Factors

    MCI-AT is more common in people who 65 years and older. Other factors that may increase your chance of developing MCI-AT include:
    Research also suggests that these may be risk factors for MCI-AT:
    • Smoking
    • Lack of social contact
    • Low educational level
    • Excessive response to stress
    • Poor nutrition and lack of vitamins
    • Exposure to toxins
  • Medications
    Researchers are currently studying the effects that several medications may have on slowing cognitive decline. These include:
  • Symptoms

    The main symptom is frequent, ongoing memory loss beyond what is normally expected for your age. That means having more than small lapses of memory. If you have MCI-AT, you may:
    • Remember much less of what you have just read or seen than people who have only the normal memory changes of aging
    • Take longer to recall information
  • Medications
    Researchers are currently studying the effects that several medications may have on slowing cognitive decline. These include:
  • Diagnosis

    The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor may also talk with family members and caregivers. Tests may include:
    • Memory and cognitive skill tests
    • Blood tests
    • Lumbar puncture —to test the fluid around the brain and spinal cord for possible causes
    Imaging tests take pictures of internal bodily structures. This can be done with:
  • Medications
    Researchers are currently studying the effects that several medications may have on slowing cognitive decline. These include:
  • Treatment

    Treatment is focused on:
    • Preventing, or at least slowing down, further loss of memory and other cognitive abilities using
      • Cognitive intervention
      • Occupational therapy
    • Preventing dementia and Alzheimer's disease
  • Medications
    Researchers are currently studying the effects that several medications may have on slowing cognitive decline. These include:
  • Prevention

    To help reduce your chance of developing MCI-AT, take these steps:
    • Manage medical conditions, especially high blood pressure
    • Manage psychiatric conditions, such as depression
    • Stay mentally active by doing things like memory exercises, crossword puzzles, reading, and taking classes
    • Get regular exercise
    • Participate in social activities
    • Reduce stress
    • Eat a healthy diet
  • RESOURCES

    American Psychiatric Association http://www.psych.org

    National Institute on Aging http://www.nia.nih.gov

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    The Alzheimer Society of Canada http://www.alzheimer.ca

    Seniors Canada http://www.seniors.gc.ca

    References

    Birks J, Flicker L. Donepezil for mild cognitive impairment. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006;3:CD006104.

    DeKosky ST, Williamson JD, Fitzpatrick AL, et al. Ginko biloba for prevention of dementia: a randomized controlled trila. JAMA. 2008;300:2306-2308.

    Feldman HH, Jacova C. Mild cognitive impairment. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2005;13:645-655.

    Gauthier S, Reisberg B, Zaudig M, et al. Mild cognitive impairment. Lancet. 2006;367:1262-1270.

    Institute for the Study of Aging and International Longevity Center–USA (March 2001). Achieving and Maintaining Cognitive Vitality With Aging: A Workshop Report . New York, NY.

    Mild cognitive impairment. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us . Updated August 23, 2013. Accessed September 5, 2013.

    National Institute on Aging. 2011-2012 Alzheimer's Disease Progress Report . Available at: http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/2011-2012-alzheimers-disease-progress-report . Accessed September 5, 2013.

    Petersen RC. Mild cognitive impairment: current research and clinical implications. Semin Neurol. 2007;27.

    Petersen RC, Roberts RO, Knopmann DS, et al. Mild cognitive impairment: ten years later. Arch Neurol. 2009;66(12):1447-1455.

    Petersen RC, Smith GE, Waring SC, Ivnik RJ, Tangalos EG, Kokmen E. Mild cognitive impairment: clinical characterization and outcome. Archives of Neurology. 1999;56:303-308.

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