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The condition called mild cognitive impairment (MCI) may make it sound like you are “mildly” losing your memory. In fact, this problem is an early stage of Alzheimer’s disease. MCI doubles your risk of early death. Full blown Alzheimer’s triples your chances.
Two studies presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2012 in Vancouver, Canada, show that MCI is a more serious disorder than most people recognize.
“Our findings help establish MCI as a serious disorder,” says researcher Richard Lipton, a physician at the Montefiore Medical Center in New York. “It has real health consequences and leads to Alzheimer’s in many cases.”
People with MCI spend less time in public, may become socially withdrawn and are more likely to suffer severe depression, researchers say. These could all contribute to increased death rates.
“While there is no treatment for MCI, dementia or Alzheimer’s, these findings support the benefits of early detection and monitoring of cognitive impairment in order to prolong life,” Lipton says.