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Advice on mild cognitive impairment

Living with mild cognitive impairment (MCI)

People with MCI may be at risk of developing dementia, so it is important that a diagnosis is made as early as possible.

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Does everyone with MCI develop dementia?

According to the Alzheimer’s Society UK, research conducted in memory clinics showed that each year 10-15% of people who had MCI with gradual memory loss went on to develop dementia.

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We are the first memory clinic in the UK that is offering dementia prevention services.

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What is mild cognitive impairment (MCI)?

MCI is the presentation of minor problems with mental abilities, such as thinking clearly or remembering information.

The symptoms are not usually severe enough to significantly impact your day-to-day life, so are not classified as dementia. However, the decline in mental abilities is greater than in normal ageing or in subjective cognitive impairment (SCI).

SCI is the self-reported cognitive decline before the deficits could be detected by cognitive testing, while MCI can be identified by well-established cutoff scores on the standard cognitive screening tests that we routinely use in our practice.

It is important to note that MCI is NOT dementia, but it can increase the risk of developing dementia. For some people MCI is the transition from natural ageing to dementia.

MemoryClinix - Woman looking confused possibly showing symptons of MCI

What are the symptoms of MCI?

Possible MCI symptoms are described by the Alzheimer’s Society, as follows:

  • Problems with memory: forgetting recent events, trouble remembering where and when you put things down or repeatedly asking the same question
  • Problems with reasoning, planning or problem-solving 
  • Attention: trouble maintaining focus on something
  • Language: struggling to find the right word
  • Visual depth perception: struggling to interpret an object in three dimensions, judge distances or navigate stairs.
Woman looking confused, showing symptons of MCI
Doctor looking at medical results for MCI, with patient
Doctor looking at medical results for MCI, with patient
Man looking concerned about his memory

How to diagnose MCI or dementia?

Our multidisciplinary team at Psychiatry-UK is able to offer expert assessment and support for people dealing with MCI or dementia.

An assessment with a psychiatrist will involve a discussion of your symptoms and how they have affected your day-to-day life.

The psychiatrist will perform a mental state examination (MSE) to assess your symptoms objectively including specific tests to gauge your ability to think clearly or to remember things.

Further investigations may also be necessary, such as blood tests (e.g. to check for any vitamin B12 or thyroid deficiencies) and sometimes a brain scan. A scan is important not only for supporting a diagnosis of dementia, but also for revealing other medical conditions that can cause dementia-like symptoms.

Our specialist will then discuss these findings with you.

The diagnosis of MCI or dementia is based on:

  • the psychiatric interview
  • the evaluation of your ability to function independently on a daily basis
  • the collateral history provided by your GP and/or your next of kin
  • results from the memory tests
  • result from a head scan

Personal care plan for MCI

This is designed for sufferers whose cognitive decline is not severe enough to have a significant impact on daily life, but is greater than in normal ageing or in SCI.

  • Online sessions of memory strategies to improve your wellbeing, delivered by our collaborators at Memory Matters
  • Dementia prevention through lifestyle-based interventions aimed at reducing dementia risk factors.

 

Man and woman feeling relieved with online help

About MemoryClinix

We combine mental health expertise, recent medical research data and latest video conferencing technology to offer a comprehensive memory loss and dementia prevention support service.