Hello! My name is Chris Núñez. I am a clinical neuropsychologist who works with older adults suffering from normal aging and cognitive decline. I hope you find the information provided in this blog to be helpful. See you on my YouTube channel!
What Is Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)?
In the first place, it is important to answer the following question: what is mild cognitive impairment? MCI refers to a decline in cognitive abilities that does not affect a person’s ability to lead an independent life. That is, despite cognitive deficits, the person can develop different strategies to compensate for impairments.
Symptoms Of mild Cognitive Impairment
Mild cognitive impairment can present with a variety of symptoms. The most common are memory problems such as forgetting appointments with friends and family, recent conversations or to take one’s medications, among others.
However, memory complaints are not the only symptom; there are different types of mild cognitive impairment based on the cognitive skills affected:
- Amnestic MCI: characterized by a decline in abilities that are related to the storage and retrieval of memories.
- Non-amnestic MCI: characterized by a decline in functions not related to memory such as language (e.g., word-finding failure), attention (e.g .,difficulty regaining focus on a task after being distracted) and executive function (e.g., difficulty planning social events such as dinners or parties).
- Single-domain MCI: only one cognitive domain such as attention, memory, language, or executive function is impaired.
- Multiple-domain MCI: more than one of the above-mentioned cognitive functions are impaired.
Causes of Mild Cognitive Impairment
The causes of mild cognitive impairment can be divided into two types: reversible and irreversible causes. Reversible causes include infections, vitamin B12 deficiency, depression, thyroid disorders, medications, sleep disorders, and many more, so it is critical that a medical specialist performs a full check-up. Among the irreversible causes, we can find the onset of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Preventing Mild Cognitive Impairment
Prevention of mild cognitive impairment is focused around protective factors such as eating a balanced diet rich in vegetables and fish, exercising regularly for at least 30 minutes, five times a week, and keeping the brain active by engaging in challenging activities such as learning a new language or learning to play an instrument.
It is also important to care for people with suspected MCI because this condition is considered to be an intermediate stage between normal aging and dementia, with memory changes leading to the development of severe deficits thereby making independent living impossible.
While mild cognitive impairment affects not only older adults, nonetheless, this population has higher risk for developing this condition. Therefore, it is essential that family members and friends who notice memory problems or problems in any other mental abilities, consult with a specialist—preferably a geriatrist—who can provide the necessary attention to each case.
Activities for Mild Cognitive Impairment
People with mild cognitive impairment can perform many different activities but these should be based on neuropsychological assessments to detect the cognitive strengths and weaknesses of those individuals. Specialists will then recommend specific exercises that may be helpful to those with MCI in maintaining their mental abilities.
NeuronUP is a neurorehabilitation platform for professionals involved in the field that provides cognitive stimulation activities. NeuronUP is an essential tool in the treatment of people with mild cognitive impairment thanks to the large number of exercises offered that have ecological validity.
Thank you very much for reading this post! See you in my YouTube channel where you will find more information on similar topics:
Chris Núñez Psicólogo YouTube channel
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