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Mild Cognitive Impairment

Memory loss has long been recognized as an inevitable part of aging. Everyone experiences a "senior moment" — the inability to recall the name of an acquaintance or the items on a shopping list. With age, these memory lapses become more common.

But a sharp decline in short-term memory could be more than normal "forgetfulness." It could be a symptom of a condition called mild cognitive impairment (MCI). People with MCI tend to retain critical thinking and reasoning skills but experience a significant short-term memory loss. They may experience trouble remembering the names of people they meet or the flow of a conversation. They also may have an increased tendency to misplace things. They may rely more on a calendar, notes and lists but still manage their daily activities.

Mild cognitive impairment may be a signal of a more serious condition on the horizon. It is believed to be a transitional disease between the normal memory loss of aging and conditions such as Alzheimer's disease. MCI has been associated with a higher-than-normal risk of dementia but not all MCI patients develop it.

Our Approach to Mild Cognitive Impairment

As a world leader in the field of dementia disorders, UCSF offers thorough evaluations for patients experiencing mild cognitive impairment. We take care to address any medical conditions – such as depression, autoimmune disorders and side effects from medication – that may contribute to memory difficulties. We also offer support groups for family members and friends.

Awards & recognition

  • usnews-neurology

    Among the top hospitals in the nation

  • usnews-neurology

    Best in California and No. 2 in the nation for neurology & neurosurgery

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.