Living With Mild Cognitive Impairment

How to maximize brain health and reduce the risk of dementia

Living With Mild Cognitive Impairment

What this new blog is all about

Do you worry whether your memory is ok? Do you have a parent with dementia and worry if you are headed down the same road? What’s normal, what’s not? What can you do to improve your chances of staying in good brain health? What the heck is mild cognitive impairment, anyway?

These are all questions that we will address in our new blog, called Living With Mild Cognitive Impairment: How to maximize brain health and reduce the risk of dementia. Approximately 1 in 10 adults over the age of 65 has some form of mild cognitive impairment (MCI)—problems with memory and/or other thinking abilities that exceed those associated with normal aging but fall short of the more serious impairments experienced by people with dementia. While public knowledge about dementia has grown exponentially in recent years, this is not the case for MCI. It is important for people to know about MCI, both because MCI is a risk factor for dementia, and because a growing body of research is identifying ways to improve functioning and reduce that risk. In other words, those who are aware they have MCI early on can start taking action to optimize their brain health and perhaps even decrease the chance that their cognitive problems worsen.

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In future posts we will go into greater detail about what MCI is and will give you a real feel for what it is like to live with MCI. But to truly understand what MCI is, you have to understand what normal cognitive aging and dementia are. We will describe how memory and other cognitive functions change as a part of normal, healthy aging, and will describe many different forms of dementia. We will specify how MCI is diagnosed and treated, and will provide information on various lifestyle habits and memory strategies that can improve cognitive health.

This blog will be largely inspired by our recent and similarly titled book, Living with mild cognitive impairment: A guide to maximizing brain health and reducing risk of dementia (Oxford, 2012). We will also draw upon exciting new research and grassroots movements in society that are relevant to living with MCI.

We start with a concern shared by all of us. Does that memory slip I just made mean I am headed towards dementia? Dr. Angela Troyer’s first posting is about the cognitive changes associated with normal aging – what’s normal, and what’s not?

Dr. Anderson is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Toronto, and a Senior Scientist at the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest.

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