ARTICLES / General / What
Early detection of Mild Cognitive
Impairment is essential for both loved one and
caregiver. A treatment program for any given condition
or disease involves two potential avenues of approach:
prevention of the disease and/or treatment of the
disease. Obviously, prevention is the ideal since it
eliminates the disease. Polio and smallpox vaccines are
examples of this approach.
Unfortunately, no one has found a way to prevent the
occurrence of MCI, which is believed to be a precursor
to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Any treatment to date only
slows down the disease’s progression. Researchers
believe that the beginning of the disease is the result
of “dents and bruises” that cells experience in a
lifetime. This sets off a waterfall of neurohormonal and
neurophysiological processes that affect the complex
architecture of the brain, eventually resulting in AD.
Your loved one’s doctor will do as much as he can for
your loved one, but what can you, as a caregiver, do?
There are several advantages for a caregiver in the
early diagnosis of MCI in a loved one. Most importantly,
you and your loved one can actively plan their future
whether it is financial, long-term care or end-of-life
planning. You can improve your understanding of the
changes that are—and will—take place in your loved one,
and educate your family and friends. You can seek out
community resources. You can improve your knowledge on
safety issues and on preventative health. You can stay
up-to-date on progress being made with possible
treatment options. And you can increase your awareness
of MCI in general, and of local and national research
projects, including clinical trials.