Mild Cognitive Impairment

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) causes a slight decline in brain functions, including thinking, language, reasoning, and memory. Some memory loss and other decreases in cognitive abilities are to be expected as part of the normal aging process. In terms of severity, mild cognitive impairment is somewhat worse than what occurs as a person gets older, but not to the point of warranting a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer's disease. The symptoms that accompany mild cognitive impairment may be noticeable and slightly annoying, but they are not severe enough to interrupt most daily functions. Even so, a link has been established between mild cognitive impairment and the increased potential for a later diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer's disease. However, many cases of mild cognitive impairment never progress to a more serious condition, and in some instances the symptoms subside or greatly improve.

There are two classifications of mild cognitive impairment, based on which type of brain function is impacted. Amnestic mild cognitive impairment is related to memory loss and forgetfulness. Nonamnestic mild cognitive impairment affects thinking processes not related to memory, such as decision-making skills, visual perception, and the ability to reason.


The UAB Memory Disorders Clinic is the only such university-based specialty clinic in the state. We provide the most advanced level of patient care and continually find new ways to improve the outlook for people with memory disorders. We also are committed to helping each family assist the patient in maintaining the highest quality of life and mental function possible.

The clinic is led by a nationally recognized team of neurologists who are specialty trained in evaluating memory disorders, recognizing their causes, prescribing appropriate treatments, and participating in research studies to better understand the causes of and best treatments for memory problems.

The UAB Memory Disorders Clinic routinely conducts clinical trials through the NIH and others to further the knowledge in memory disorders, potentially giving our patients convenient access to treatments not available at most other medical centers.

Members of our UAB memory team work together closely to ensure that the experience for patients and their families is seamless and comfortable. Our excellent nursing team includes nurse practitioners to coordinate patient care in collaboration with physicians. Nurses are available to answer questions and provide support to patients and their families both in person and over the phone.

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UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials for the diagnosis and treatment of mild cognitive impairment. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.

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