Researchers have found that more people with MCI than those without it go on to develop Alzheimer's. However, not everyone who has MCI develops Alzheimer's disease. About 8 of every 10 people who fit the definition of amnestic MCI go on to develop Alzheimer's disease within 7 years. In contrast, 1 to 3 percent of people older than 65 who have normal cognition will develop Alzheimer's in any one year.
Research suggests genetic factors may play a role in who will develop MCI, as they do in Alzheimer's. Studies are underway to learn why some people with MCI progress to Alzheimer's and others do not.
A doctor can do thinking, memory, and language tests to see if a person has MCI. He or she also may suggest that the person see a specialist for more tests. There currently is no standard treatment for MCI, but there are things a person can do that may help them stay healthy and deal with changes in their thinking.
Because MCI may be an early sign of Alzheimer's disease, it's important to see a doctor or specialist every 6 to 12 months.