Mild cognitive impairment

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a term used to describe early memory and thinking problems in older people. It is not a disease in itself.

There are currently no drug treatments available specifically for MCI. In research studies, the medicines available for Alzheimer’s disease have not been shown to help people with MCI. These treatments also do not appear to affect whether someone with MCI will go on to develop Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

A doctor may treat any conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure that could make the symptoms worse.

Research is being carried out into non-drug treatments for MCI, such as memory training and computer-based activities, but so far the results have been mixed. The doctor may be able to suggest practical approaches to managing your symptoms, like keeping a calendar or diary. They might also suggest ways to keep physically and mentally active, such as taking regular exercise.

As some people with MCI may be in the early stages of a disease like Alzheimer’s, researchers are keen to find out whether possible new treatments for dementia could work in people with MCI. To find out more about taking part in clinical trials or other research studies, visit or call the Dementia Research Infoline on 0300 111 5 111.

This information was written in January 2018 and is due to be reviewed in November 2019. Please contact us if you would like a version with references.

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