Mild Cognitive Impairment
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
Alzheimer’s disease (AD)
. MCI-AT only involves problems with memory. Dementia and Alzheimer's involve loss of other cognitive abilities, such as:
Learning Reasoning Making decisions Problems with confusion, language, and attention
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 revert to normal.
Some Areas of the Brain Affected by Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Art, Inc.
The causes are not clear. However, genetic factors may be a cause.
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition.
Risk factors include:
Age: 65 and older Family history of MCI-AT, dementia, or Alzheimer's
Medical conditions, such as
high blood pressure
, heart disease,
, head injury,
anxiety Being overmedicated Substance abuse
Research also suggests that these may be risk factors for MCI-AT:
Lack of physical activity Lack of social contact Low educational level Excessive response to stress Poor nutrition and lack of vitamins Exposure to toxins
The main symptom is frequent, ongoing memory loss beyond what is normally expected for one’s 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
The doctor will:
Ask about your symptoms and medical history Perform a physical exam Perform tests to measure your cognitive skills, including memory
The doctor may also talk with family members and caregivers.
If you have this condition, you should have your cognitive abilities tested regularly.
Treatment is focused:
Preventing, or at least slowing down, further loss of memory and other cognitive abilities Preventing dementia and Alzheimer's disease
Researchers are currently studying the effects that several medications may have on slowing cognitive decline. These include:
The following are being studied as ways to reduce the risk of cognitive decline:
Managing medical conditions that may lead to MCI-AT, especially high blood pressure
Getting treatment for depression and
hypothyroidism Staying mentally active by doing things like memory exercises, crossword puzzles, reading, taking classes Getting regular exercise Participating in social activities Reducing stress Getting help for emotional problems
Alzheimer’s disease education and referral center.
Connections: News from the ADEAR Center
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Petersen RC. Mild cognitive impairment: current research and clinical implications.
2007;27. Available at:
. Accessed on March 23, 2007.
Last reviewed January 2009 by
Rimas Lukas, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a
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EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.