Harvard Men's Health Watch

Before dementia begins: What helps?

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a transitional stage before dementia. There is no treatment yet to stop MCI from progressing, but a healthy lifestyle and optimal medical care may slow it down and improve day-to-day function. This includes exercise and a heart-healthy diet and getting the best medical care for conditions that affect the arteries, like diabetes and heart disease. A special form of therapy called cognitive rehabilitation teaches strategies for working around memory loss and other impairments. There is no FDA-approved medication for MCI, but some doctors are willing to prescribe the drug donepezil (Aricept), which is used to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Dietary supplements do not help prevent MCI from getting worse, but new drugs are being tested in clinical trials that could lead to better treatments.
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