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What Now?

By Michael Plontz

(Page 1 of 3)

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.


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