Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) due to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is one of the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s disease. This is the first stage when symptoms may become apparent to individuals living with AD, their loved ones and their doctors.1,4 These early warning signs can include increasing short-term memory loss, frequent difficulty finding words, and/or losing track of the day or date. Other symptoms of MCI may include a decline in other thinking skills, such as the ability to make sound decisions or to judge the time and steps required to complete a task.1,4
These symptoms may indicate early stage Alzheimer’s disease – but they can be overlooked or dismissed as just part of getting older. Recognising early changes and understanding the possible cause is important for a timely and accurate diagnosis. Your doctor can assess whether symptoms are due to normal ageing or disease.5
General Practitioners (GPs) or Primary Care Providers (PCPs) are often the first point of contact for people having problems with memory or other cognitive functions. The diagnostic process often includes the following steps:1,2,5
People with mild cognitive impairment may then be referred for further tests to a memory clinic, neurologists, or other specialists. The earlier MCI due to probable AD is detected, the sooner the individual affected can be referred for testing to confirm a diagnosis of AD.6
A healthy diet, regular exercise, social interactions and mental stimulation may help preserve brain health and cognitive functions.
1.2021 Alzheimer's disease facts and figures. Alzheimers Dement. 2021;17(3):327-406.
2.Morris JC, Blennow K, Froelich L, et al. Harmonized diagnostic criteria for Alzheimer’s disease: recommendations. J Intern Med. 2014;275(3):204-213.
3.Jack CR, Bennet DA, Blennow K, et al. NIA-AA Research Framework: Toward a biological definition of Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimers Dement 2018;14:535 -562.
4.Alzheimer’s Association: Mild Cognitive Impairment, https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-dementia/related_conditions/mild-cognitive-impairment. Accessed January, 2022.
5.Krolak-Salmon P, Maillet A, Vanacore N, et al. Toward a Sequential Strategy for Diagnosing Neurocognitive Disorders: A Consensus from the "Act On Dementia" European Joint Action. J Alzheimers Dis. 2019;72(2):363-372.
6.Dubois B, Padovani A, Scheltens P, et al. Timely Diagnosis for Alzheimer's Disease: A Literature Review on Benefits and Challenges. J Alzheimers Dis. 2016;49(3):617-31.
7.Risk reduction of cognitive decline and dementia. WHO Guidelines. https://www.who.int/mental_health/neurology/dementia/guidelines_risk_reduction/en/. Accessed January, 2022.
8.Livingston G, Huntley J, Sommerlad A, et al. Dementia prevention, intervention, and care: 2020 report of the Lancet Commission. Lancet. 2020 Aug 8;396(10248):413-446.
9.Van der Steen JT, Smaling HJ, van der Wouden JC, Bruinsma MS, Scholten RJ, Vink AC. Music-based therapeutic interventions for people with dementia. Cochrane Database SystRev. 2018;7(7).
10.Brioschi Guevara A, Bieler M, Altomare D, et al. Protocols for cognitive enhancement. A user manual for Brain Health Services-part 5 of 6. Alzheimers Res Ther. 2021;13(1):172.
11.Woods B, O’Philbin L, Farrell EM, Spector AE, Orrell M. Reminiscence therapy for dementia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018;3(3):CD001120.
12.Spector A, Orrell M, Davies S, Woods B. Reality orientation for dementia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2000;(4):CD001119.
13.Kishita N, Backhouse T,Mioshi E. Nonpharmacological interventions to improve depression, anxiety, and quality of life (QoL) in people with dementia: An overview of systematic reviews. J Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol 2020;33(1):28-41.
14.Savaskan E, Mueller H, Hoerr R, von Gunten A, Gauthier S. Treatment effects of Ginkgo biloba extract EGb 761® on the spectrum of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia: metaanalysis of randomized controlled trials. Int Psychogeriatr. 2018;30(3):285-293.