Not everyone who has difficulties with their memory will have dementia. The term Mild Cognitive Impairment (or MCI) is used to describe a condition where an individual has minor problems with memory or other thinking processes, but is generally able to function normally in everyday life.
For people with MCI, an assessment carried out in the RICE memory clinic may reveal problems with memory which are slightly greater than would be expected for the individual’s age and educational background; but not at the level that would be characteristic of dementia. Often these changes will be quite isolated, for example, only affecting memory, but not other thinking processes such as attention or language.
In many cases these mild cognitive changes can result from other treatable conditions such anxiety, depression, stress or other physical illnesses, and not from any specific neurological problem. MCI is not a type of dementia, but for some people MCI can progress to Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia.