Clues Have Been Found for Cognitive Decline

Published Online: Monday, December 1, 2003

    Results of a study, published in the Archives of Neurology (October 2003), shed some light on why mild cognitive impairment (MCI) experienced by the elderly may be associated with cerebrovascular disease, depression, and racial factors. To make their determination, the researchers looked at participants who took part in the Cardiovascular Health Study Cognition Study who underwent magnetic resonance imaging brain scans between 1991 and 1994. Also, the participants had neuropsychological, neurological, and medical examinations between 1998 and 1999 to identify the presence of MCI or dementia.

    The study found that the overall prevalence of MCI among the participants was 19% (465 of 2470 people still alive in 1998 to 1999). The frequency of MCI increases with age from 19% in people younger than 75 to 29% in people >85. Additionally, MCI was associated with being African American and having low levels of education.

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