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Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

Mild Cognitive Impairment Common Among Elderly, Men, High School Grads

Women, people with some college education fair better fighting off dementia - see video report

Dr. Rosebud Roberts, Mayo Clinic neurologist and epidemiologist, discusses the findings of research study about Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). Her team is interested in finding who is most at risk for MCI.

Jan. 25, 2012 - Researchers involved in the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging reported today that more than 6 percent of Americans age 70 to 89 develop mild cognitive impairment (MCI) every year. Also, the condition appears to affect men and those who only have a high school education more than women and those who have completed some higher education.

People with MCI are at the stage between suffering the normal forgetfulness associated with aging and developing dementia, such as that caused by Alzheimer's disease.

 

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The study found that 296 of the 1,450 study participants developed MCI, an incidence rate of 6.4 percent per year overall. Among men, the incidence rate was 7.2 percent, compared with 5.7 percent per year for women.

The study, "The Incidence of MCI Differs by Subtype and is Higher in Men," which was published in the Jan. 25, 2012, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

"While incidence rates for MCI have been reported previously, ours is one of the few studies designed specifically to measure the incidence of MCI and its subtypes using published criteria," says lead author Rosebud O. Roberts, M.B., Ch.B., of the Mayo Clinic Division of Epidemiology.

"The statistically significant difference between incidence rates among men and women represents an important finding for those evaluating patients for MCI."

Watch video report on study.

The study also looked in more detail at patients with MCI, dividing them according to whether they developed amnestic MCI (aMCI) - in which the condition affects the memory domain - or non-amnestic MCI (naMCI).

Similar to the overall results, the incidence rates for aMCI and naMCI were higher in men than in women.

In addition, the study found that individuals with only a high school education developed either aMCI or naMCI at a higher rate than those with some higher education.

"Understanding the distribution of incident MCI by age, sex and other demographic variables is critical to helping us understand the cause of the condition, as well as how to prevent MCI and its progression to full-blown, irreversible dementia," Dr. Roberts says.

"This study advances our understanding of MCI and will help clinicians provide even better care for their patients, especially during initial evaluations."

Since MCI is a risk factor for dementia, and large numbers of the baby boomer generation are reaching this age, physicians are looking prevent or reduce the risk of MCI, or the increased development of dementia will have a tremendous impact on the cost of health care in elderly persons.

About Mild Cognitive Impairment

People with MCI have mild problems with thinking and memory that do not interfere with everyday activities, although their forgetfulness is often apparent to them and their friends and family. While not everyone with MCI develops dementia, an estimated 5 to 10 percent do.

Symptoms of MCI include:

   ● Difficulty learning and remembering new information

   ● Difficulty solving problems or making decisions

   ● Forgetting recent events or conversations

   ● Taking longer to perform complex or difficult mental activities.

About Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education for people from all walks of life. For more information, visit http://www.mayoclinic.org/about and http://www.mayoclinic.org/news.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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