Not remembering little things is normal, as we all have selective memory and keep what we consider important. However, when this lack of memory starts to attract attention, it is necessary to seek medical help, as it may be a sign of mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). This type of memory deficit should be understood as a slight loss of memory, not dementia, the cause of which ranges from stress or sleepless nights to the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease processes.
What is MCI?
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) causes a slight but noticeable and measurable decline in cognitive abilities, including memory and thinking skills. A person with MCI is at an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s or another dementia.
What is Cognition?
Cognition is defined as ‘the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses.’ It is in essence, the ability to perceive and react, process and understand, store and retrieve information, make decisions and produce appropriate responses.
Dementia is a syndrome in which there is deterioration in memory, thinking, behavior, and the ability to perform everyday activities. Although dementia mainly affects older people, it is not a normal part of aging.
What is the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s?
Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia. Alzheimer’s is a specific disease. Dementia is not.
So far, there is no medication against mild cognitive impairment, but some interventions can help to reduce this syndrome, one of which is acupuncture. The recent study published by the scientific journal Acupuncture in Medicine – The BMJ, which was led by researchers at Wuhan University, in China, conducted a study. According to the researchers, acupuncture can help to preserve the memory of people with mild cognitive impairment.
The diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment should be made by a doctor specializing in memory, such as a psychiatrist or neurologist. The standard assessment comprises a complete clinical examination, followed by specific examinations, which involve assessments of verbal fluency, visual memory, and abstraction tests, among other tests aimed at measuring the patient’s memory capacity.
In addition to acupuncture, other activities can help to decrease this syndrome. It involves memory training, encouraging the patient to learn new things. For those who are not used to reading, it is recommended to read a newspaper or magazine, for example. For those who read frequently, the recommendation is to read books whose degree of understanding is always above usual. Learning a new language or playing a musical instrument are also considered great remedies for mild cognitive impairment.
Finally, engaging in regular physical activity, sleeping seven to eight hours a day, avoiding abuse of alcohol and other drugs, not smoking and fighting obesity can also help prevent it.