Monday, August 2, 2010

Mild Cognitive Impairment

Dementia takes on many stages, and among the earliest is what is known as Mild Cognitive Impairment, or MCI. This is the stage where someone shows signs of memory impairment but can still function in all other ways.

MCI also distinguishes dementia from normal signs of aging and occurs in those age 55 years and older. Factors such as family history, education, work experience and life experiences can influence its onset.

According to medical experts at last week's caregiver Town Hall Forum in San Marcos, sign common signs that you or a loved one may be experiencing MCI include:

--Forgetting recent events and conversations
--Difficulty performing more than one task at a time
--Difficulty solving problems
--Taking longer to perform more difficult mental activities

One way to determine if MCI is present is to consult a physician who may also recommend testing with a neurologist, psychiatrist, geriatrician or other specialist. PET scans have been found to be 90% accurate and often are covered by Medicare if the doctor is trying to test for an exact type of dementia.