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Mild Cognitive Impairment vs. Normal Brain Aging and Dementia

Mild Cognitive Impairment Vs. Normal Brain Aging and Dementia

Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) has recently become a classification of memory impairment for the aging and the elderly that may be a precursor to the development of more severe neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimers and dementia. However, mild cognitive impairment does not always lead to severe or even worsening memory impairment; it may just be a minor memory condition that can be controlled through the use of external memory aides. It wasn't until recently that physicians began to classify this mild memory impairment as something other than normal memory loss with aging. Studies have shown that certain people that are not suffering fromAlzheimers or dementia still suffer from mild cognitive impairment when compared to others in their same age group.

Types of mild cognitive impairment: There are two types of MCI: amnesic and non-amnesic. Amnesic MCI is more common than non-amnesic MCI. Amnesic MCI is characterized by memory problems. Symptoms may include forgetting about important appointments or missing events that you had planned to attend.

Non-amnesic MCI is characterized by impaired thinking and challenges with planning, organizing or judgment. Symptoms may include having trouble making plans or problem solving.

According to the Mayo Clinic Staff there is no specific test to confirm a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Your doctor will decide whether MCI is the most likely cause of your symptoms based on the information you provide and results of various tests that can help clarify the diagnosis. Many doctors diagnose MCI based on the following criteria developed by a panel of international experts: You have problems with memory or another mental function. You may have problems with your memory, planning, following instructions or making decisions. Your own impressions should be corroborated by someone close to you. You've declined over time. A careful medical history reveals that your ability has declined from a higher level. This change ideally is confirmed by a family member or a close friend. Your overall mental function and daily activities aren't affected. Your medical history shows that your overall abilities and daily activities generally aren't impaired, although specific symptoms may cause worry and inconvenience.

With MCI, mental status testing shows a mild level of impairment for your age and education level. Doctors often assess mental performance with a brief test such as the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). More detailed neuropsychological testing may shed additional light on the degree of memory impairment, which types of memory are most affected and whether other mental skills also are impaired.

Additional testing that your doctor may order are laboratory tests for thyroid function , B-12 levels and a urinalysis for infection. A CT scan may also be ordered to check for signs of mini strokes, brain size, structural changes or tumors. But the most important information for the doctor will be reporting the history of the mental changes from family members or loved-ones .

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