Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a condition that can involve problems with memory, language, thinking and or judgment that are serious enough for people or their friends and family to notice something is wrong. However, people with MCI can still take care of themselves and do their normal activities.

Some people with MCI will go on to develop dementia, caused by Alzheimer’s disease or other neurological conditions, but this isn’t true for everyone. In fact, one in five people diagnosed with MCI will return to normal cognitive functioning for their age within a few years. Many others will remain stable for several years or more without progressing to dementia. As clinicians are unable to say what the outcome of MCI will be for a specific person, it can be a difficult classification to grapple with. While it is not completely understood what causes mild cognitive impairment, we do know that people are at increased risk of the very early stages of Alzheimer's disease or other dementias.

The risk factors most strongly linked to MCI are the same as those for dementia: advancing age, family history of Alzheimer's or another dementia, and conditions that raise risk for cardiovascular disease including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, obesity and diabetes.

Mild Cognitive Impairment articles