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.
mild cognitive impairment, mci, alzheimer, memory, prevention, treatment, dennis, selkoe
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