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Mild Cognitive Impairment

Definition


Disease: Mild Cognitive Impairment Mild Cognitive Impairment
Category: Neurological diseases
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Disease Definition:

The transition stage between the cognitive decline of normal aging and the more serious problems caused by Alzheimer's disease is called mild cognitive impairment.

Many areas of thought and action can be affected by the disorder, such as judgment, reading, writing, reasoning, attention and language. However, memory problems can be caused by the most common variety of mild cognitive impairment.

Although some people with mild cognitive impairment remain stable and others even return to normal, many people with this condition eventually develop Alzheimer's disease.

Work Group:


Prepared by: Scientific Section

Symptoms, Causes

Symptoms:

The transition stage between the cognitive decline of normal aging and the more serious problems caused by Alzheimer's disease is called mild cognitive impairment.

Many areas of thought and action can be affected by the disorder, such as judgment, reading, writing, reasoning, attention and language. However, memory problems can be caused by the most common variety of mild cognitive impairment.

Although some people with mild cognitive impairment remain stable and others even return to normal, many people with this condition eventually develop Alzheimer's disease.

Losing the car in the parking garage, misplacing the car keys and forgetting the name of a former co-worker when unexpectedly meeting that person is nothing to worry about because the forgetfulness of normal aging is not a big deal.

However, if one starts forgetting things that he/she typically remembers, such as weekly gatherings or doctor's appointments, red flags should go up. Though this happens to everyone now and then, if a pattern develops, it could be a symptom of mild cognitive impairment.

For a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment, the commonly used criteria are:

 

  • Reduced performance on cognitive tests, compared with other people of similar educational background and age
  • Essentially normal judgment, perception and reasoning skills
  • Deficient memory, preferably confirmed by another person
  • Largely normal activities of daily living


The following symptoms may be experienced by people with mild cognitive impairment:

 

  • Aggression
  • Depression
  • Apathy
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety

Causes:

The same types of brain changes seen in Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia are usually also seen in mild cognitive impairment. The difference is limited in the extent of these changes, which is limited in this condition. The changes may include the following:

 

  • Strokes
  • Plaques, which are abnormal clumps of a protein called beta-amyloid
  • Lewy bodies, which are abnormal clumps of a protein that's associated with Parkinson's disease
  • Tangles, which are abnormal clumps of a protein called tau
  • Shrinkage of the hippocampus, an area of the brain important for memory

Complications

Complications:

As a matter of fact, within five years, half the people with mild cognitive impairment will progress to Alzheimer's disease. Additionally, people with mild cognitive impairment are three times more likely to develop Alzheimer's or other dementias than are those without such impairment.

Treatments:

Cognitive problems may be reduced by treatment of coexisting conditions, such as depression or high blood pressure. Researchers are trying to develop a treatment that may prevent or delay the progression of this disease to Alzheimer's disease or other dementias. However, there's still no cure for mild cognitive impairment.

ANTIDEPRESSANTS:
Depression can cause memory problems, and depression itself is common in people who have mild cognitive impairment. Treating depression may make it easier to cope with the changes in one's life and it can help improve memory.

ALZHEIMER’S DRUGS:
The rate of progression from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer's was much lower in people who took donepezil during the first year of a three-year study. However, by the end of the study, that difference disappeared.

The risk of sudden death from strokes and heart attacks is increased by an Alzheimer's drug called galantamine when this drug is used in people who have mild cognitive impairment.

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE DRUGS:
It's important to keep blood pressure at normal levels because people with mild cognitive impairment are more likely to have problems with the blood vessels inside their brains. Additionally, high blood pressure can make these problems worse and it can cause memory difficulties.

Prognosis:

Not Available

Expert's opinion

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