Harvard Doctors Reveal

Everything you need to know about mild cognitive impairment

Your memories of the past. Your dreams for the future. Your ability to recall, reason, and think. It’s all in that three-pound organ between your ears—your brain. With so much at stake, protecting your brain from cognitive decline should be your highest health priority.

Understanding Mild Cognitive Impairment is here to help. The new guide from the experts at Harvard Medical School, is your indispensable handbook to understanding mild cognitive impairment (MCI), reducing its impact, and possibly preventing it from happening at all.

Yes, sometimes cognitive impairment is *reversible*

As you’ll learn in the guide, some types of MCI are reversible. For example, certain medications may cause reactions that mimic cognitive decline. Memory and other cognitive functions may be restored simply by changing medications. Or a person may have experienced a head injury, resulting in localized bleeding called a subdural hematoma. This can lead to changes in memory loss and thinking. If the blood is removed within weeks of the injury, memory function may recover. As the guide makes clear, be sure to consider all potential causes of MCI before assuming you can’t get your cognitive abilities back to where they were.

Shielding your brain against MCI

Understanding Mild Cognitive Impairment reveals how you can take action to prevent or minimize MCI. You’ll learn, for example, how getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and lowering your stress levels can all boost your cognitive function. Giving your brain a workout through education and with mental challenges like puzzles and games can help, too. In addition, the guide explains how a traditional Mediterranean diet can lower the risk of MCI and slow the progression of dementia in people who have the condition.

The latest MCI treatment options

A lot of research is going on to find a drug treatment for MCI, but as of now there’s no medication or supplement that’s been proven effective. However, as the guide explains, there are other options. For example, cognitive training, in person or via computer, can help people with MCI develop their remaining cognitive skills. Another option is to improve cardiovascular fitness—for instance, by lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol, and quitting smoking. This can reduce the chance of a blood vessel becoming blocked and causing brain damage.

Get to know the fundamentals of MCI

Understanding Mild Cognitive Impairment gives you the information you need to approach MCI with confidence. The guide offers an overview of the brain’s different areas and explains how memories are created and stored. In easy-to-understand language, you’ll learn how MCI is different from dementia conditions like Alzheimer’s. You’ll also read about the risk factors for MCI, such as age, genetics, cardiovascular fitness, and depression, and how MCI is diagnosed.

There’s still more to discover in Understanding Mild Cognitive Impairmentincluding: five key indicators of memory-related MCI • the differences between memory-related MCI and MCI that affects other functions of the brain • an overview of the six cognitive domains, such as memory, language, and attention • how brain function changes with normal aging vs. MCI and dementia • how spending time with friends and family can do wonders for your brain health • and more!

Understanding Mild Cognitive Impairment is brimming with useful information, including:

The two types of MCI—amnestic MCI and non-amnestic MCI—and which is more common

The “inside story” on how your brain works, with easy-to-understand descriptions of the main parts of the brain, plus a helpful illustration

How to boost your “cognitive reserve” and defend your brain against memory loss

A fascinating overview of how the brain creates and stores memories

The #1 risk factor for MCI, as well as other risk factors you need to know about

A comprehensive review of the ways doctors diagnosis MCI

Seven *reversible* causes of MCI, including medication reactions, thyroid problems, and alcoholism

Eight ways you can take action to prevent or slow down MCI