About Mild Cognitive Impairment
Cognition is an umbrella term for the functions your brain performs related to thinking, learning, and memory. While it is normal for adults to experience changes to their cognitive abilities as they age (e.g., many older adults become more likely to misplace items), MCI describes cognitive difficulties that go beyond these normal age-related problems but are not yet as severe as dementia. Whether an individual diagnosed with MCI will go on to develop dementia will ultimately depend on the underlying cause of their cognitive changes (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease, depression, etc).
Types of Mild Cognitive Impairment :
Different types of mild cognitive impairment are distinguished based on a patient’s symptoms.
Types of mild cognitive impairment include
- Amnestic MCI: Cognitive impairment mostly associated with memory loss
- Non-amnestic MCI: Cognitive impairment due to non-memory related functions being affected, such as attention/concentration, planning, and decision making
Symptoms of Mild Cognitive Impairment
Symptoms of MCI are much greater than normal age-related cognitive changes.
Symptoms of mild cognitive impairment may include:
- Frequently repeating questions or stories
- Forgetting important events or dates
- Getting lost or turned around in familiar areas
Risk Factors for Mild Cognitive Impairment
Risk factors associated with MCI are the same as those for dementia.
Risk factors for mild cognitive impairment may include:
- Age: MCI is estimated to affect roughly 15-20% of the population over age 65
- Comorbid conditions: People with conditions associated with cardiovascular disease, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and a history of stroke, are at higher risk for MCI
- Family history
Treating Mild Cognitive Impairment at UT Health Austin
Annual evaluations may be recommended for those with a diagnosis of MCI to monitor the status of your condition. While treatment will ultimately depend on the underlying cause of your cognitive symptoms, research has shown that lifestyle changes including a healthy diet, regular exercise, and participation in socially and intellectually stimulating activities can help slow cognitive decline and may help you maintain your current level of cognitive functioning for a longer period of time. Compensatory strategies such as notetaking or using a calendar can also help you complete important tasks.
Our clinic uses an interprofessional approach, which means our patients have contact with multiple team members coming from multiple specialties. We discuss each patient as a team to identify the diagnosis and to develop a tailored treatment plan specific to your needs. Whatever your needs are, our team is here to listen and work with you to develop a treatment plan that is right for you.
Care Team Approach
At UT Health Austin, we take a multidisciplinary approach to your care. This means you will benefit from the expertise of multiple specialists across a variety of disciplines caring for you in one place to avoid having to schedule multiple appointments with providers at locations all over the city. The Comprehensive Memory Center care team includes neurologists, a geriatric psychiatrist, neuropsychologists, nurses, a speech-language pathologist, social workers, and more who work together to help you get back to the things in your life that matter most to you.
We collaborate with our colleagues at the Dell Medical School and The University of Texas at Austin to utilize the latest research, diagnostic, and treatment techniques, allowing us to identify new therapies to improve treatment outcomes. We are committed to communicating and coordinating your care with referring physicians and other partners in the community to ensure that we are providing you with comprehensive, whole-person care.