Mild cognitive impairment: Conceptual, assessment, ethical, and social issues

Perla Werner*, Amos D. Korczyn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is defined as a condition characterized by newly acquired cognitive decline to an extent that is beyond that expected for age or educational background, yet not causing significant functional impairment. The concept of MCI has received considerable attention in the literature over the past few years, and aspects related to its definition, prevalence, and evolution have been extensively studied and reviewed. Here we attempt to synthesize the implications of the current status of this entity, focusing on the conceptual, methodological, and, in particular, the social and ethical aspects of MCI which have attracted less attention. We discuss the weaknesses of the concept of MCI, which is heterogeneous in etiology, manifestations, and outcomes, and suggest that the emergence of the syndrome at this stage reflects industrial interests related to possible development of drugs for this disorder. On the other hand, the formal diagnosis of MCI, with its implications that the person may develop dementia, may have a grave impact on the psychological state of the individual, at a stage when prediction of outcome is tenuous and possibilities of useful interventions are meager. We present suggestions for the direction of future research in these areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-420
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Interventions in Aging
Volume3
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2008

Keywords

  • Assessment issues
  • Dementia
  • Ethical issues
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Social issues

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