Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is a decline in cognitive function that may include memory, language, or critical thinking. It is considered more serious than expected age-related decline but less serious and concerning than dementia. Some cases of MCI proceed to dementia and some do not, making MCI especially alarming to those who experience it.
A person with symptoms of MCI might begin losing items, for example, or forget scheduled appointments. While these changes are notable to the individual, they do not routinely interfere with activities of daily living.
Neurologists divide MCI into two broad categories: amnestic impairment, in which memory loss is the predominant symptom, and nonamnestic impairment, in which other cognitive areas, such as decision making or orientation in space, are primarily affected.