Albert Einstein College of Medicine (AECM) investigators determined in a new study that a form of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) can be positively correlated to a significant increased death risk.
MCI patients were found to be twice more likely to die than peers who exhibited no signs of mental decline. Cognitive impairment is known to be a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease, a neurodegenerative form of dementia.
The same study revealed that full-blown dementia patients are three times more likely to die than healthy peers are. The new investigation was focused on Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment (AMCI).
According to the medical definition of cognitive impairment, the condition gives sufferers more memory problems than would otherwise be associated with old age, but they do not cause a seriously-damaging effect on those individuals' daily lives.
A different form of the condition, called nonamnestic MCI, tends to impair planning and organizing abilities, as well as reduce a person's ability to judge things properly. Poor memory occurs as well.
Official statistics released by the Alzheimer's Association indicate that one-in-ten to one-in-five seniors above the age of 65 suffer from some form of MCI. Therefore, the new investigation potentially highlights a new public healthcare problem.
Working together with colleagues at Montefiore Medical Center, the AECM investigators were able to survey 733 people above the age of 70, who live in Bronx, New York. All of them had previously enlisted in the Einstein Aging Study.
“While there is no treatment for MCI, dementia or Alzheimer’s, these findings support the benefits of early detection and monitoring of cognitive impairment in order to prolong life,” scientist Richard Lipton, MD, explains.
The expert is the director of the Einstein Aging Study, and was also the senior author of the new study on the effects of MCI. He will present additional details of the research at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, which is held in Vancouver this week.
Alzheimer's disease, a condition facilitated by the presence of MCI, currently affects around 6.5 million people in the United States alone. The number is bound to increase as the population of the developed world ages, PsychCentral