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Seniors Should Undergo Annual Cognitive Health Assessment

After MCI diagnosis, patients should be counseled on treatment options; support needed for partners

doctor and patient

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 18, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Adults aged 65 years and older should undergo annual cognitive health assessments to improve recognition of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), according to a special article published online Sept. 18 in Neurology.

Given the high prevalence of MCI in older adults, Norman L. Foster, M.D., from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, and colleagues emphasize the importance of confirming care is provided consistently with guideline recommendations and monitoring patient outcomes.

The authors note that adults aged 65 years and older should undergo annual cognitive health assessment. Patients with MCI or memory loss should undergo cognitive and functional assessment; after disclosure of MCI diagnosis, patients need to be counseled on treatment options. Patients should also undergo assessment and treatment of factors that may contribute to MCI, including hearing and visual loss; medical illnesses, including hepatic and renal failure; and depression, sleep disturbance, medication side effects, and other psychiatric illnesses. Patients with MCI should avoid anticholinergic medications. Partners of patients with MCI should receive education; they have a need for increased support services, especially social interactions.

"We cannot expect people to report their own memory and thinking problems because they may not recognize that they are having problems or they may not share them with their doctors," Foster said in a statement. "Annual assessments will not only help identify mild cognitive impairment early, it will also help physicians more closely monitor possible worsening of the condition."

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