Mild cognitive impairment and prevention
Professor Dennis Selkoe discusses mild cognitive impaitment, a precursor to Alzheimer's disease. Early identification may be critical to treatment.
In Alzheimerâ€™s disease itâ€™s not a simple, single syndrome; you just have Alzheimerâ€™s [disease] or you donâ€™t have it. There are gradations, and the fact is that long before one has Alzheimerâ€™s [disease] such as I would diagnose in my patients in my clinic in Boston, one would have very mild impairment of memory. We refer to that now with the term MCI; not the company MCI but Mild Cognitive Impairment. That is a harbinger of Alzheimerâ€™s [disease]; itâ€™s not Alzheimerâ€™s [disease] yet. And now we begin to think in the last couple of years of pre-MCI, something that happens even before MCI, and the concept is that when do you start getting worried about a trajectory towards Alzheimerâ€™s [disease]? Is it when you once forget where you parked your car in the parking lot and you canâ€™t quite find it at the airport? No, that wouldnâ€™t be enough to say â€˜uh oh, you may have pre-MCI or MCIâ€™. But if you do that kind of thing repetitively over the course of months or a year or so, and three or four times during the year your wife has had to rescue you when youâ€™ve not remembered where youâ€™ve parked your car at the airport, then of course itâ€™s time to see a specialist and see if thatâ€™s the case. If you forget important things in your life; the names of a child or a brother or a sister or a grandchild, and you do that repetitively, assuming you have less than a dozen grandchildren, then maybe thatâ€™s a problem and you should see someone. The whole thing is incredibly subtle, and Alzheimerâ€™s [disease] Iâ€™m afraid for better or worse develops over the course of decades, not even years or months. We believe that the process starts maybe 10, 15 or even 20 years before a doctor can diagnose you as having unequivocal Alzheimerâ€™s [disease]. Now that sounds frightening, but itâ€™s also an opportunity. The whole Alzheimerâ€™s [disease] field is going towards prevention. Weâ€™d like to treat people, lets say the children of an Alzheimerâ€™s [disease] patient, when theyâ€™re in their 50â€™s and 60â€™s working and doing quite well, and not forgetting where they parked their car or only once a year or two which is allowed. So, thatâ€™s where the entire field of neurodegeneration is going â€“ identify the process really early, and thatâ€™s why we use terms like MCI or Mild Cognitive Impairment, thatâ€™s when we like to treat.
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Older individuals with mild cognitive impairment that includes memory problems are much more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than are their healthy peers.
Professor Kenneth Kosik discusses the relationship between mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s disease. MCI is a predictor of Alzheimer's disease.
An overview of Alzheimer's disease-related content on Genes to Cognition Online.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that causes a gradual and irreversible loss of higher brain functions, including memory, language skills, and perception of time and space,
Professor Dennis Selkoe points out that although Alzheimer's disease is primarily a genetic disease, environmental factors such as exercise may be important.
Professor Dennis Selkoe discusses the age at which plaque-forming a-beta can begin to build up. Children with Down syndrome may have these plaques, otherwise childhood instances are rare.
Professor Kenneth Kosik defines Alzheimer's disease as a slowly progressing illness that deteriorates the brain and impairs many major cognitive functions.
Professor Donna Wilcock explains that Aricept can only provide short-term benefit in treating Alzheimer's disease.
Professor Dennis Selkoe discusses an experiment by his group, which found that a-beta oligomers temporarily injected into rats' brains caused temporary forgetfulness.
Only quite recently have neuroscientists begun to understand the importance of white matter, a long-neglected part of the brain.