What Do We Know About What Causes Mild Cognitive Impairment?

Dr. Petersen answers the question: 'What Causes Mild Cognitive Impairment?'

ByRonald Petersen, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Mayo Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, Mayo Clinic
November 19, 2008, 12:19 PM

May 4, 2009 -- Question: What do we know about what causes mild cognitive impairment?

Answer: Well, mild cognitive impairment as a syndrome means that you're just not remembering or thinking as well as you formerly did. Usually in aging that is a very early stage of what might become Alzheimer's disease. However it need not always be the case. There could be other causes of mild cognitive impairment -- for example it could result from the interactions of medications you are taking for other conditions. The side effects may produce forgetfulness; in addition you may have some psychiatric types of conditions such as depression or anxiety that could affect your memory.

These are important because they may be treatable and may not mean that you are developing Alzheimer's disease. So, once you have the symptoms of forgetfulness that might mean mild cognitive impairment, you need to have it explored to see what is the underlying cause.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events