Neurodegenerative Diseases and Mild Cognitive Impairment

Alexandra Pletnikova, BA, Christopher Marano, M.D., Matthew E. Peters, M.D.


  • Neurodegenerative diseases include conditions which primarily affect the neurons in the human brain and are more common in persons with diabetes.
  • Examples of neurodegenerative diseases are:
    • Alzheimer’s disease (AD)
    • Vascular dementia
    • Parkinson’s disease (PD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), and other PD-related disorders
    • Fronto-temporal Dementia
    • Prion disease
    • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
    • Huntington’s Disease
    • Spinocerebellar ataxia
    • Spinal muscular atrophy
  • Dementia is defined as a global cognitive and functional decline in the presence of a clear sensorium.
  • AD is thought to account for at least 60% of dementia cases[3] and will be the focus of the present discussion.
  • Individuals with cognitive impairment at a severity level insufficient for a diagnosis of dementia may be diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI)[14].
  • For RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY, the term "Preclinical Alzhemier’s disease" has been used to describe individuals who have measurable biomarker changes of AD pathology in the brain, but no symptoms of cognitive impairment[15].

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Last updated: July 4, 2018