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Causes of Memory Loss

>MCI and Dementia

  Some decline in one's ability to remember things is part of normal aging. However, at times memory loss is due to cognitive impairment and is classified as either mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia. MCI and dementia are two stages along the continuum of cognitive impairment severity. The dementia stage is further divided into mild, moderate and severe stages. If the cause of MCI is not treated, the condition often progresses until the individual is demented.

Progression of Cognitive Impairment
CI Progression

Persons with MCI have impairments limited to one category of cognitive function (e.g. memory, judgment, reasoning, executive function), but this impairment does not interfere with his or her activities of daily living. Persons with dementia have impairment in two or more cognitive functions and such impairment interferes with the person's ability to function in his usual manner in his social, family, personal or professional life.

Mild Cognitive Impairment is also identified as the first clinical stage of Alzheimer's Disease. The subtype of MCI associated with Alzheimer's Disease is called amnestic MCI and affects an individual's memory. Approximately 80% of people with amnestic MCI develop Alzheimer's Disease within 6 years. According to the Mayo Clinic, 15-20% of MCI patients convert to Alzheimer's Disease each year. In comparison, the conversion rate for the general population is 1-2%. Since MCI is the first symptomatic stage of Alzheimer's Disease, accurately detecting MCI enables medical professionals to then take the steps necessary to determine if a patient has early stage Alzheimer's Disease.

Progression of Cognitive Impairment in Alzheimer's Disease
AD Progression


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