What is Mild Cognitive Impairment?

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a condition in which a person’s cognitive abilities decline somewhat, but are not significant enough to warrant a diagnosis of dementia. Most frequently, a person has memory problems, but may also have difficulties with judgment and thinking that are greater than what would be expected from normal age-related decline. Often a person suffering from MCI is aware of their declines, and friends or family may or may not have noticed because the person is functioning fairly well. On other occasions, individuals with MCI are unaware of their deficits and only loved ones notice things like memory changes.

Mild cognitive impairment may progress into a full dementia. Early identification can lead to medical treatments and other interventions that can slow or, in some cases, stop the decline. Note that memory and thinking abilities change as we age, and a diagnosis of MCI is made only when the changes experienced are greater than what is a normal age-related decline. In addition, symptoms of mild depression and other medical and emotional can mimic the symptoms of MCI, necessitating a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation. Additionally, only such an evaluation can identify where your cognitive and memory functions are in comparison to where they should be. With proper diagnosis and a personally tailored treatment plan, neuropsychological assessments may offer hope that it is possible to slow down or even stop the progression of cognitive decline.

Symptoms of mild cognitive impairment can include:

  • Poor memory for important events, birthdays, appointments
  • Losing your train of thought while reading, watching TV, etc.
  • Becoming overwhelmed when making decisions or performing multi-step tasks
  • Mild difficulty navigating around areas you know
  • Occasionally, some impulsivity or changes in quality of judgment
  • Increased irritability

As many of these symptoms are common, MCI can be difficult to differentiate from normal age-related changes. Please contact us to learn more or make an appointment for a neuropsychological evaluation that can make an accurate determination. If you do exhibit clinical signs of MCI, a targeted treatment plan can be developed to most precisely guide your treatment and help improve your memory.