Mild Cognitive Impairment: I Beat It – So Can You!


Mild cognitive impairment is really scary for me. When I was in elementary school, I hated school. I was smart but bored. And the old battleaxes that taught at our little school were about five minutes from retirement. I’ll leave that to your imagination.

So I spent seven years staring out the classroom windows and throwing homework assignments out the school bus window. The kids used to taunt me by chanting, “Wayne lost his brain on a train.”

l guess I’d earned that.

Anyway, in seventh grade, I came face-to-face with a shiny new school, fascinating classes, educators who loved teaching, and a lot of kids who didn’t know my past.

What an opportunity!

Within six months I went from “dumbest kid in school” to one of the “brains.” My ego grabbed onto that with both hands and never let go.

But now I’m 65 and things have changed again.

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a condition in which your thinking and memory develop slight but noticeable problems.

I first noticed issues when I kept having to ask Lisa the names of songs, movies, actors, dates, etc. It scared the heck out of me (and I assure you, I didn’t use the word “heck”)! Like you, I started doing research and discovered that people with mild cognitive impairment often have trouble with memory, language, decision-making, and concentration.

Who knew? I’d thought it was simply names and dates.

The good news is that in most cases, MCI doesn’t lead to Alzheimer’s (actually, only 3% of people get Alzheimer’s) or other degenerative brain diseases. Bad news? Doctors will tell you there’s no cure (I beg to differ). It also increases your chances of developing degenerative brain diseases as it reduces free nerve cells from growing new neurites through natural repair mechanisms.

Uh, what?

I know. What on earth does that mean?

Keep reading…I’ll spell out everything you need to know about MCI:

  • how to prevent cognitive decline;
  • how to recognize it if you have it;
  • what to do to fix it (even though your doctor will tell you there’s no cure); and,
  • explain it in language that you and I can understand!

Because, if you read the intro, you’ll understand that I wrote this post as much for me as I did for you!

Key Takeaways

  • Mild or moderate cognitive impairment (MCI) is a gradual decline in mental abilities, such as memory and thinking skills.
  • There are several things you can do to reduce your chances of getting mild cognitive impairment or experiencing its progression.
  • There are many potential treatments for mild cognitive impairments (MCI). Some people may choose to take medication, while others may opt for lifestyle changes, therapy, or brain training. Start discussions with your doctor on the best options for you. (And if they tell you there’s nothing you can do, find a functional or restorative doctor.)

Table of Contents

What is mild cognitive impairment?
Signs of cognitive decline
Symptoms of mild cognitive impairment
Reduce chance of getting mild cognitive impairment or progression
Cognitive decline in elderly
Mild cognitive impairment treatment
What is the average age for mild cognitive impairment?
Early cognitive decline
What causes early cognitive decline?

What is Mild Cognitive Impairment?

Mild or moderate cognitive impairment (MCI) is a gradual decline in mental abilities, such as memory and thinking skills. MCI is not a disease, but it may be a sign that a person is at risk for Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia. Some people refer to it as MCI brain.

A person with MCI has more difficulty than usual with one or more of the following:

  • Memory (such as forgetting familiar words or events)
  • Language (such as having trouble following or joining a conversation)
  • Visual perception (such as trouble recognizing faces or objects)
  • Reasoning and judgment (such as making poor decisions or taking longer to complete familiar tasks – huh…I’ve been making bad decisions since I was four!)
  • Planning and organizing (such as losing track of dates, appointments, or what day it is)

Signs of Cognitive Decline

There are a few key signs that may indicate cognitive decline or MCI brain, even in its earliest stages. If you notice any of the following changes in yourself or a loved one, it’s important to talk to a doctor about getting evaluated for mild cognitive impairment:

  1. Trouble remembering things that happened recently. This can include forgetting vocabulary words, names, or events.
  2. Having difficulty multitasking or keeping track of multiple conversations at once.
  3. Losing interest in activities that were once enjoyed.
  4. Withdrawing from social activities and becoming more isolated. Social isolation can be both symptom and cause of cognitive decline.
  5. Experiencing changes in mood or personality, such as increased anxiety or irritability.

Symptoms of Mild Cognitive Impairment

There are a number of symptoms that can characterize mild cognitive impairment, but they generally fall into two categories: problems with memory, and problems with executive function.

Memory problems are typically the first and most noticeable symptom of mild cognitive impairment. This can manifest as difficulty remembering names or faces or forgetting recent conversations or events.

Executive function problems can make it difficult to plan and organize tasks, or to keep track of time and appointments.

Other common symptoms include struggling to find the right word when speaking or making more mistakes than usual at work or in daily activities.

Mild cognitive impairment can be frustrating and upsetting for both the individual experiencing it and their loved ones, but it is important to remember that it is not necessarily a sign of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.

With early intervention and lifestyle changes including anti-inflammatory diet, physical exercise, mental exercise, meditation, and alternative therapies, many people with mild cognitive impairment are able to maintain their independence and live full lives or, in some cases, reverse the effects.

Reduce chance of getting mild cognitive impairment or progression

There are several things you can do to reduce your chances of getting mild cognitive impairment or experiencing its progression.

1. It’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet and exercising regularly can help to keep your brain healthy and prevent cognitive decline. And stay away from cigarettes and heavy alcohol use!

Additionally, staying socially active and engaged in mentally stimulating activities can also help to keep your mind sharp I use both BrainHQ and Cognifit (both are based on scientifically proven exercises – crossword puzzles, board games, phone app games – that sort of thing doesn’t help at all).

2. Managing any chronic health conditions that you may have is crucial in preserving cognitive function. Conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and depression (just so you know, I take Paroxetine for depression and anxiety) have all been linked with an increased risk of MCI.

Therefore, it’s important to consult with your doctor and develop a plan to manage these conditions effectively.

3. Some research has suggested that certain supplements may help to protect cognitive function. For example, omega-3 fatty acids (I take Krill oil from Costco) have been linked with improved memory and thinking skills in people with MCI.

Similarly, vitamin B12 and folic acid supplementation has also been associated with slower rates of cognitive decline. So, speak to your doctor about whether taking supplements could be beneficial for you.

Find functional doctors in your area…

4. 40hz Light Therapy: According to researchers at MIT, using a 40hz light for 20 minutes per day can help remove amyloid plaque buildup in your brain which is known to be a cause of Alzheimer’s.

5. For more healthy brain tips, see…uh, hmmm…Healthy Brain Tips.

Get regular screenings for mild cognitive impairment

Mild cognitive impairment is a common neurological condition that affects people over the age of 65. It is characterized by problems with memory, language, and thinking. MCI can be a transitional stage between normal aging and more serious conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing MCI brain, but regular screenings by a qualified healthcare professional can help catch the condition early and prevent it from progressing to more serious cognitive decline.

Screenings for MCI typically involve the assessment of cognitive function through standardized tests and questionnaires. They may also include physical examinations and blood tests to rule out other possible causes of cognitive impairment (such as exposure to heavy metals).

If you are concerned about your cognitive function, talk to your doctor about getting screened for MCI. Early diagnosis and treatment can help preserve your cognitive function and quality of life.

Also, establishing a baseline will allow you and your doctor to evaluate the effectiveness of different tools and approaches. It feels good when you can see proof positive that treatments are working.

It sure was for me.

Cognitive decline in elderly

As we age, it’s normal for our cognitive abilities to decline slightly if we haven’t been actively working to keep them up through mental exercises, healthy diet, and physical exercise.

(A lifetime of regular physical exercise alone can actually maintain neuron integrity and those cell powerhouses in your brain, the mitochondria.)

However, for some older adults, this decline is more significant and can interfere with their daily lives. This condition is called mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

People with MCI have difficulty with one or more cognitive functions, such as memory, language, or problem-solving. They may also have trouble with activities of daily living, such as managing finances or medications.

MCI brain is not a disease in itself, but it’s an important risk factor for developing dementia.

There are several causes of MCI, including aging, medical conditions (such as stroke or Parkinson’s disease), and side effects of medications. In many cases, the exact cause of MCI is unknown.

I remember reading one researcher’s conclusion that what we sometimes label cognitive decline, such as difficulty remembering phone numbers, addresses, and other bits of information, is actually just an overstuffed brain.

For instance, how many phone numbers, birthdays, names, etc., did you have to remember when you were a twenty-something? How many do you have to remember now? Just sayin’.

There is no specific treatment for MCI, but there are things that can help manage the symptoms and slow the progression of the condition.

These include staying physically active, eating a healthy diet, and participating in mental stimulation activities. There is also evidence that social engagement and support can help people with MCI live happier and healthier lives.

Mild Cognitive Impairment treatment

There are many potential treatments for mild cognitive impairments (MCI). Some people may choose to take medication, while others may opt for lifestyle changes or therapy.

It is important to speak with a doctor about the best course of treatment, as each person’s situation is unique. In some cases, a combination of treatments may be necessary.

Also consider a Functional doctor trained at The Institute for Functional Medicine who is also trained in geriatrics. Find functional doctors in your area

 Treatment options for mild cognitive decline include:

  • Lifestyle changes: Adjusting one’s lifestyle is often the first step in treating MCI. This can involve exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep.
  • Cognitive training: Some people with MCI may benefit from cognitive training exercises. These exercises can help to improve memory and thinking skills.
  • Medication: There are several types of medications that can be used to treat MCI. These include cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine.
  • Therapy: Therapy can help people with MCI manage their symptoms and cope with the challenges of the condition.

Anxiety can also cause mild cognitive impairment. If you suspect you may have anxiety, talk to a therapist about it.

Anxiety was a major cause of my problems because of the constant blast of epinephrine and cortisol in my brain. Epinephrine and cortisol shut down your higher brain functions as part of your fight, flight or freeze reaction.

If like I was, you are always anxious (in my case due to being on the autistic scale), you’re probably spending a good chunk of your life in a brain fog.

I’m taking an antidepressant for anxiety now, but there are also alternative treatments to reduce anxiety that don’t rely on taking drugs such as neurofeedback training. I will be exploring those alternatives soon, but the antidepressant will get me through until then.

What is the average age for mild cognitive impairment?

While there is no one definitive answer to this question, the average age for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is generally considered to be around 70 years old. However, it is important to keep in mind that MCI can affect people of any age and is not limited to the elderly population.

For many people, the first sign of MCI is a subtle change in their memory or thinking abilities. They may start forgetting things more often or have difficulty retaining new information. These changes usually occur gradually and are not severe enough to impact daily activities or disrupt independent living. However, they can be noticeable to family and friends.

Other common early signs of MCI include problems with language, such as difficulty finding the right word when speaking or writing; changes in visuospatial skills, such as getting lost in familiar places; and executive functioning issues, such as difficulties with planning and Organization. Early onset MCI may also be associated with depression and anxiety.

Although there is no specific medical test for diagnosing MCI, doctors typically perform a variety of cognitive and neurological exams to rule out other potential causes of memory loss or cognitive decline, such as dementia, stroke, or head trauma. If no other underlying cause can be found, a diagnosis of MCI may be made based on symptoms and severity.

Early cognitive decline

According to the Mayo Clinic, early cognitive decline is defined as “a slight but noticeable and persistent decline in cognition, or thinking skills.” Early cognitive decline may be a sign of mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

Some people with MCI may go on to develop dementia, but not all. Early diagnosis and intervention may help slow or delay the progression of MCI. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing MCI, but some strategic lifestyle changes may help.

If you or a loved one are experiencing early cognitive decline, it’s important to see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. There are many causes of cognitive decline, so it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis. Early intervention can make a big difference in managing the condition.

What Causes Early Onset MCI?

There are many possible causes of early onset MCI. One frequent cause is the presence of amyloid plaques in the brain. Amyloid plaques are deposits of a protein that can interfere with neuronal function. Plaques typically develop in people who are middle-aged or older, but they can also occur in younger people with certain genetic risk factors.

Other potential causes of early onset MCI brain include:

  •  One or more concussions (a major concern for professional athletes)
  •  A head injury that disrupts normal brain function (car or work accident)
  • Certain viral infections that damage the brain
  • Exposure to toxins that can damage brain cells (lead poisoning and other toxic metals can cause problems because they stay embedded in fatty tissue)
  • autoimmune diseases that attack the nervous system
  • Certain types of cancer that affect the brain (my father died of a brain tumor – oddly enough, despite quickly losing all bodily function control, his mind stayed clear to the end)

Regardless of the cause, it’s important to get diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. Early onset MCI can be a sign of serious underlying health problems, so prompt medical attention is essential.


Exercising our mind is a lot more important than we realize. Like I said before, I use both Cognifit and BrainHQ. And I can guarantee you, I have really felt the difference. We must acknowledge the importance of an active lifestyle (that means join a gym if you don’t play a lot of sports or are a big outdoorsy-type), making better nutrition choices, and good sleep habits. With a healthy body, mind and spirit, we can beat mild cognitive impairment before others even start to notice.

This “mild cognitive impairment” blog post obviously has affiliate links in it. If you value the Fast Track to the Good Life blog and what I’ve shared with you about how to live longer and healthier, please support my work by using the links. They add nothing to your cost and Lisa and I get a small commission. Thank you in advance for your support!

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
Skip to content