Many people find their memory changes as they get older. You might forget people’s names or have words on the tip of your tongue that you can’t quite remember. You might feel a little absentminded, often misplacing your keys or glasses, or forgetting why you walked into a room. For most people, these changes are a normal and natural part of aging. But in some cases, these changes are signs of something more serious — mild cognitive impairment or early Alzheimer’s disease.6
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI): A condition that involves changes in your memory or thinking – changes that are serious enough to be noticed by you or other people, but don’t interfere with daily life. People with MCI have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s dementia or another kind of dementia someday. But not everyone with MCI develops dementia.6
Alzheimer’s disease: A brain disease that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior, and worsens over time. It’s the most common form of dementia and can interfere with daily tasks. Alzheimer’s affects the way a person thinks, reasons, and solves problems. In its early stages, memory loss is mild.
Over time, it can also affect behavior and conversational skills.7
While Alzheimer's disease cannot yet be stopped or reversed, early detection may allow a person to seek treatment and plan for the future.8
You and your doctor can explore treatments that may provide some relief of symptoms and help you maintain a level of independence for a longer period of time.9
The hope is that future drugs will target Alzheimer’s disease in its earliest stages, before significant irreversible brain damage or mental decline has occurred.10
1. World Health Organization. Dementia Fact Sheet. May 2017. http://who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs362/en/. Accessed June 22, 2017.
2. Alzheimer’s Association. May 2014. http://alz.org/global/. Accessed June 22, 2017.
3. U.S. National Institutes of Health. A 24-Month Study to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of E2609 in Subjects With Early Alzheimer's Disease (MissionAD1). https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02956486. Accessed June 22, 2017.
4. U.S. National Institutes of Health. A 24-Month Study to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of E2609 in Subjects With Early Alzheimer's Disease (MissionAD2). https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03036280. Accessed June 22, 2017.
5. Vassar, R. BACE1 Inhibitor Drugs in Clinical Trials for Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer's Research & Therapy:2014;6.89:1-14.
6. Alzheimer's Association. Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI): Signs, Symptoms, & Diagnosis. May 2017. http://www.alz.org/dementia/mild-cognitive-impairment-mci.asp. Accessed June 22, 2017.
7. Alzheimer's Association. What Is Alzheimer's? May 2017. http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_what_is_alzheimers.asp. Accessed June 22, 2017.
8. Alzheimer's Association. Stages of Alzheimer's & Symptoms. June 2017. http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_stages_of_alzheimers.asp#mild. Accessed June 22, 2017.
9. Alzheimer's Association. Why Get Checked. June 2017. http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_why_get_checked.asp. Accessed June 22, 2017.
10. Alzheimer's Association. Alzheimer’s and Dementia Testing for Earlier Diagnosis. June 2017. http://alz.org/research/science/earlier_alzheimers_diagnosis.asp. Accessed June 22, 2017.
11. National Institutes of Health. What Are Clinical Trials? May 2017. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/studies/clinicaltrials. Accessed June 22, 2017.