ROCHESTER, Minn. — Researchers involved in the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging reported today that more than 6 percent of Americans age 70 to 89 develop mild cognitive impairment (MCI) every year. Also, the condition appears to affect men and those who only have a high school education more than women and those who have completed some higher education. People with MCI are at the stage between suffering the normal forgetfulness associated with aging and developing dementia, such as that caused by Alzheimer's disease.
VIDEO ALERT: Additional audio and video resources, including excerpts from an interview with Dr. Roberts describing the research, are available on the Mayo Clinic News Blog.
The study, "The Incidence of MCI Differs by Subtype and is Higher in Men," which was published in the Jan. 25, 2012, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, reports that 296 of the 1,450 study participants developed MCI, an incidence rate of 6.4 percent per year overall. Among men, the incidence rate was 7.2 percent, compared with 5.7 percent per year for women.
"While incidence rates for MCI have been reported previously, ours is one of the few studies designed specifically to measure the incidence of MCI and its subtypes using published criteria," says lead author Rosebud O. Roberts, M.B., Ch.B., of the Mayo Clinic Division of Epidemiology. "The statistically significant difference between incidence rates among men and women represents an important finding for those evaluating patients for MCI."
The study also looked in more detail at patients with MCI, dividing them according to whether they developed amnestic MCI (aMCI) — in which the condition affects the memory domain — or non-amnestic MCI (naMCI).