What is Mild
Cognition is the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a term used to describe a set of symptoms that imply impaired cognition.
An individual with MCI will experience mild problems with one or more of the following:
Memory - for example, forgetting recent events or repeating the same question.
Reasoning - planning or problem-solving, for example, struggling with thinking things through.
Attention - for example, being focussed on a task and easily distracted.
Language - for example, taking much longer than usual to find the right word for something.
Visual depth perception - for example, struggling to interpret an object in three dimensions, judge distances, navigate stairs or finding your way around town.
The simplest way to understand MCI is to think of it as the first stage of cognitive decline, somewhere between no decline and dementia.
We all have an expected cognitive ability for our age, those with MCI however experience more of the above symptoms than is normal. As implied by the name, those with MCI experience only mild symptoms, usually not enough to interfere significantly with daily life, unlike dementia. Because of their mild nature, most people go undiagnosed.
As an example, it’s common in normal ageing to have to pause to remember directions or to forget words occasionally, but it’s not normal to become lost in familiar places or to forget the names of close family members.
5 to 25%
Est. over 65s with MCI*
Why diagnosis is so important
What can I do to treat Mild Cognitive Impairment?
Like dementia there is no medicinal to treat the condition, the best known cure and prevention for MCI is living a healthy lifestyle. The following are areas that if optimised, can improve cognitive wellness:
Social Interaction including Reminiscence Experiences
Mental Exercise including Mindfulness and Meditation
Carefully manage cardiovascular risks such as hypertension, high cholesterol and lipids
Carefully manage dental hygiene, particuarly preventing Gum disease
Reduce or eliminate alcohol intake
MCI is not a rare condition. It is estimated that between 5 and 20% of people aged over 65 have MCI. Although not a type of dementia, if left untreated a person with MCI is more likely to go on to develop dementia.
There is substantial research focusing on cures for dementia, however at present there is no cure, the best available medicines only delay the progression.
The good news is that there is a large and ever-increasing body of evidence that shows that the earlier we detect the presence of cognitive decline then the greater the chance of delaying or eliminating it entirely!
It used to only be possible to diagnose cognitive conditions at the GPs or in Memory clinics using written assessments. However recently our partners Neurowyzr have created a series of short digital brain mini games that can identify markers for cognitive decline. These games are medically recognised and can be done on a laptop anywhere in the world.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
If you’ve ever tried to change a habit using will power alone you will be able to relate to how hard it is and how frequently it fails to stick. CBT treatment usually involves efforts to change thinking patterns, this is an established method used in clinics and studies around the world.
In many studies, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been demonstrated to be as effective as, or more effective than other forms of psychological therapy or medications. CBT is based on several core principles, including changing faulty or unhelpful ways of thinking, changing learned patterns of unhelpful behavior and learning better ways of coping with them.
At huru we use elements of CBT to help support our users, particuarly in the persuit of cognitive wellbeing.