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Diagnosis Neurology & Neurosurgery

Mild Cognitive Impairment

There is no established approach for evaluating individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). At the UCSF Memory and Aging Center, patients undergo a thorough evaluation of their complaints, including a medical history, neurological exam and a neuropsychological evaluation. The medical history usually requires the participation of a knowledgeable close friend or relative, such as a spouse or child.

Depending on the results of this evaluation, further testing may be necessary, including blood tests and brain imaging. This second level of testing is similar to that given to individuals with more severe memory problems and is directed towards better defining the problem and looking for medical conditions that might have an effect on the brain such as autoimmune disorders, infections, nutritional deficiencies and possible side effects from medication.

An important part of this process is screening for depression since memory loss can be a symptom of anxiety and depression.

As a result of these tests, other causes of memory impairment may be discovered such as vitamin deficiency or thyroid disease, which can be treated.

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.