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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 . 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 healthful diet

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
  • Review Date: 08/2014 -
  • Update Date: 09/30/2013 -
  • National Institute on Aging

    http://www.nia.nih.gov

  • Psych—American Psychiatric Association

    http://www.psych.org

  • The Alzheimer Society of Canada

    http://www.alzheimer.ca

  • Seniors Canada

    http://www.seniors.gc.ca

  • 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. 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.