Some forgetfulness can be a normal part of aging. However, some people have more memory problems than other people their age. This condition is called mild cognitive impairment, or MCI. People with MCI can take care of themselves and do their normal activities.
MCI memory problems may include
- Losing things often
- Forgetting to go to events and appointments
- Having more trouble coming up with words than other people of the same age
Memory problems can also have other causes, including certain medicines and diseases that affect the blood vessels that supply the brain. Some of the problems brought on by these conditions can be managed or reversed.
Your health care provider can do thinking, memory, and language tests to see if you have MCI. You may also need to see a specialist for more tests. Because MCI may be an early sign of Alzheimer's disease, it's really important to see your health care provider every 6 to 12 months.
At this time, there is no proven drug treatment for MCI. Your health care provider can check to see if you have any changes in your memory or thinking skills over time.
NIH: National Institute on Aging
Diagnosis and Tests
- Screening for Cognitive Impairment in Older Adults (U.S. Preventive Services Task Force) - PDF
Prevention and Risk Factors
- Medicare Update: Annual Wellness Visit (Alzheimer's Association) - PDF
- Mild Cognitive Impairment: What Do We Do Now? (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Center for Gerontology) - PDF
- Folic Acid Supplements: Can They Slow Cognitive Decline? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
Statistics and Research
- Increased Brain Activity May Compensate for Amyloid Pathology in Older Brains (National Institute on Aging)
- Mild Cognitive Impairment and Progession to Dementia: New Findings (American Academy of Neurology) - PDF
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Is Mild Cognitive Impairment a Precursor of Alzheimer's Disease? Short...
- Article: Association of Mild Cognitive Impairment With Exposure to General Anesthesia for...
- Article: Intakes of fish and polyunsaturated fatty acids and mild-to-severe cognitive...
- Mild Cognitive Impairment -- see more articles
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- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Available in Spanish
- National Institute on Aging Available in Spanish