The term Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) refers to a syndrome that involves a gradual decline in mental abilities in the presence of preserved general cognitive function. The most common form of MCI involves a gradual difficulty with memory. Other patients can have gradual problems with language or problem solving. Patients with MCI are at increased risk for progressing to greater levels of impairment and dementia. However, this is not true of all patients. It is currently difficult to determine in advance which patients will progress and which will not. This is a major focus of research at the present time.
Diagnosis of MCI currently involves a comprehensive assessment that includes a neurological examination, neuropsychological testing and brain imaging.