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