Mild Cognitive Impairment: Who Is Confused?

Mild Cognitive Impairment: Who Is Confused?

NOTE: To view the article with Web enhancements, go to:
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/506184

Conference Report
Highlights of the American Geriatrics Society 2005 Annual Meeting
May 11-15, 2005; Orlando, Florida

Mark E. Williams, MD , Medscape Internal Medicine. 2005; 7 (1): ©2005 Medscape

Changes in mental function are perhaps the most feared aspect of aging. Because we use our brains to perceive and act on risks in the environment, significant mental dysfunction threatens our lives and our independence. Moreover, mental impairment is a common geriatric problem: Its prevalence doubles every 5 years, increasing from an estimated 1% among those aged 60 years, to 20% at age 80 years, and 50% or higher among the oldest.[1]

Dementia causes tremendous suffering, not only for the patients but for their families and other caregivers. Ultimately, people with mental impairment are at risk for long-term nursing home placement, with substantial financial costs to individuals and to society. The number of persons with dementia is expected to increase worldwide as the global population ages. Consequently, disorders of mental function represent a growing public health issue for the future.[2, 3]

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