mild cognitive impairment (MCI)

Last reviewed 02/2021

Mild cognitive impairment is a subtle pattern of cognitive impairment (1).

It can be described as an intermediate zone which is seen between a cognitively normal elderly person and person with clear dementia (2). It does not fall under any type of dementia (1).

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is defined as syndrome of cognitive impairment (a reduction in the ability to think, concentrate, formulate ideas, reason and remember) which is greater than the expected for an individual's age and education level and without experiencing considerable changes in usual activities of everyday life.

Cognitive performance between 'normal' ageing and mild cognitive impairment overlap considerably (1).

The possibility of developing dementia (mostly Alzheimer disease) in an individual with MCI is 5 to 10 times greater when compared to cognitively healthy individuals (1,2).

There are several different types of MCI:

  • amnestic type - memory is affected
  • non-amnestic - memory is not affected (1)