A new Mayo Clinic study has found that the number of new cases of mild cognitive impairment is approximately 5 percent per year. This is higher than the anticipated 1 or 2 percent incidence rate and highlights the urgency for developing new and better therapies for Alzheimer’s disease
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a transitional state between normal aging and the earliest features of Alzheimer’s disease.
“If we extrapolate these findings to the baby boomers, who are aging into the period of risk, we’re talking about a significant number of individuals who may become cognitively impaired in the very near future,” says Ronald Petersen, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic neurologist and director of the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. “Consequently, if we don’t find a cure or treatment to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, we’re going to be overwhelmed by the burden of these individuals on the health care system.”
As part of the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging, nearly 2,000 healthy individuals aged 70 to 89 years from Olmsted County, Minn., have been followed over time to detect the earliest point of cognitive impairment. These individuals developed MCI at a rate of about 5.3 percent per year. The rate was even higher (7.2 percent) for 80-89 year olds.
Dr. Petersen presented this study at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease in Chicago on July 28, 2008.
Dr. Petersen provides an overview of the study.
Dr. Peterson discusses the findings.
Dr. Petersen on how Mayo Clinic is addressing these concerns.