Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a condition which is marked by a slight, but noticeable decline in cognitive abilities, such as memory and thinking abilities. The decline is also measurable. A person who is affected by mild cognitive impairment is also at an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Mild Cognitive Impairment Test

No particular test exists at present which can give a confirmatory diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment. The physician will take a detailed history of your signs and symptoms and will decide whether mild cognitive impairment is responsible for your symptoms. Some tests can be carried out as a supportive to help confirm the diagnosis of your condition.

Many international experts have developed criteria, which are used by many doctors to diagnose mild cognitive impairment. The criteria can be stated as follows.

If There Is A Problem With Your Memory Or Any Other Mental Function. You may be facing problems with your memory, planning stuff, making decisions or even following instructions. Once you tell these things to your doctor, someone close to you must also make a confirmation of the same facts.

Your Ability Has Declined Over A Period Of Time. Your medical history may reveal that your ability has declined from a higher level to a quite lower level. Again, this fact must be confirmed by someone close to you to be sure of mild cognitive impairment.

Your Daily Activities Are Not Affected. Your medical history may reveal that you are well able to perform your day to day activities and your mental health is also not affected. However, certain symptoms may be the cause of some inconvenience and even worries.

Mental Status Testing. A small mental status testing test known as min-mental state examination (MMSE) test assesses your mental performance and many specialists choose to use it in their diagnostic tests to help diagnose mild cognitive impairment.

Detailed Neuropsychological Testing. Other, more detailed neuropsychological tests will decide the level of memory impairment. They will also help in telling which memory types the most affected ones are and also, whether other mental abilities are impaired.

You Do Not Suffer From Dementia. You cannot be diagnosed of Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia according to the problems that you describe, your medical history, your test reports and mental status testing, as these problems are not severe enough to make such a diagnosis.

Neurological Examination. When a doctor performs a physical examination on you, he may also perform some basic tests that will tell how well your brain and nervous system are functioning. These tests play an important role in the detection of diseases and conditions like Parkinson’s, strokes, tumors and others. These conditions can impair your memory as well. The neurological tests also check on your reflexes, walking and balancing abilities and eye movements and may help in the diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment.

Pathological Tests. Certain blood tests may help in knowing or ruling out other possible causes of memory impairment, like vitamin B12 deficiency, underactive thyroid etc.

Imaging Tests. These may be carried out in the form of MRI or CT scan so that the doctor can rule out or know other possible causes of memory impairment like tumors, bleeding or strokes.

Mental Status Testing. Small tests for the same can be carried out in as less as 10 minutes. During these tests, the doctor may ask you to carry out a simple written instruction or ask you simple questions like today’s date or day. Some longer tests can provide the doctor with some additional details about your mental abilities. These tests may also help in identifying the underlying condition if any and to help in diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment.

Mild Cognitive Impairment Treatment

Currently, there is no specific treatment or drugs particularly approved for the treatment of mild cognitive impairment. However, there is still active research going on in this area. Clinical studies are still going on to find better ways and means to slow down the progression of the disease or improve the symptoms.

While there is no specific test to diagnose mild cognitive impairment, these tests can help give an idea about one’s condition.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: January 16, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

We'll help you live each day to the healthiest