Mild Cognitive Impairment Due to Alzheimer Disease


Drs Anderson and Malone discuss the burden of, signs and symptoms of, diagnostic tools and criteria for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and mild/early dementia and the benefits of early diagnosis. Early diagnosis and intervention of MCI and mild dementia can slow disease progression and optimize outcomes for both patients and caregivers.

Learning Objectives

After completing this educational activity, you should be able to:

  • Diagnose patients with mild cognitive impairment or mild Alzheimer dementia
  • Facilitate prompt treatment initiation for patients with mild cognitive impairment or mild Alzheimer dementia

Target Audience

Clinicians in neurology, psychiatry, and primary care settings

Program Description

A timely AD diagnosis is particularly important for optimizing patient care. Diagnosis prior to moderate to severe dementia stages offers opportunities for early intervention, implementation of coordinated care plans, management of symptoms, improved patient safety, cost savings, and postponement of institutionalization. Clinicians need to provide patients with a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and early-stage AD so that they can offer interventions when the most benefit can be obtained. 

Diagnostic challenges have made clinicians uncomfortable with the process, but progress has been made to improve sensitivity and specificity. The use of an objective cognition-screening tool along with in-development blood-based biomarkers represents a potentially efficient and cost-effective path to accurately identifying incipient AD-related cognitive decline earlier in the disease course. Emerging optimism surrounds a timely, biomarker-confirmed diagnosis at early signs of cognitive deficits (ie, MCI due to AD and mild AD dementia) and early treatment initiation.

New treatment options may offer benefit in modifying the disease process. A recently approved human immunoglobulin gamma 1 (IgG1) monoclonal antibody targets aggregated soluble and insoluble forms of Aβ, and other disease-modifying agents are under investigation. Development efforts suggest that disease-modifying therapies will be most beneficial in early, biomarker-confirmed AD, before significant neuronal damage has occurred.

Educating patients and family members about the illness and discussing treatment goals is important to help them prepare for the future, start interventions, and consider participation in clinical trials.

From the Series: Screening, Diagnosing, and Treating Mild Cognitive Impairment and Mild Alzheimer Disease

Activity summary
Available credit: 
  • 0.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™
  • 0.50 Participation
Activity opens: 
Activity expires: 

Support Statement

Supported by an educational grant from Biogen MA Inc.

Learning Objective

After completing this educational activity, you should be able to:

  • Diagnose patients with mild cognitive impairment or mild Alzheimer dementia 
  • Facilitate prompt treatment initiation for patients with mild cognitive impairment or mild Alzheimer dementia 

Release, Review, and Expiration Dates

This CME activity was published in September 2022 and is eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ through September 30, 2023.

Statement of Need and Purpose

A diagnosis of Alzheimer disease (AD) occurs in many cases when patients have already reached the moderate to severe stages in the AD continuum. This diagnostic delay while patients have mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or mild dementia reduces the opportunity to intervene with symptomatic therapy or potentially disease-modifying therapy. When a diagnosis is made, clinicians are not effectively communicating with patients and care partners regarding the illness and next steps. Although guidelines recommend that symptomatic therapy should be initiated upon diagnosis, prompt treatment initiation does not occur in a substantial number of patients newly diagnosed with AD. Clinicians need education about the rationale for early identification of MCI and mild AD dementia and about recommended methods for diagnosis. They also need guidance for sharing the diagnosis along with education on next steps for patients and their care partners, including support services. Finally, education is needed about facilitating treatment initiation.

Unlabeled and Investigational Usage

The faculty of this educational activity may include discussions of products or devices that are not currently labeled for use by the FDA. Faculty members have been advised to disclose to the audience any reference to an unlabeled or investigational use.

No endorsement of unapproved products or uses is made or implied by coverage of these products or uses.

Please refer to the official prescribing information for each product for discussion of approved indicators, contraindications and warnings.

Review Process

The faculty members agreed to provide a balanced and evidence-based presentation and discussed the topics and CME objectives during the planning sessions. The faculty’s submitted content was validated by CME Institute staff, and the activity was evaluated for accuracy, use of evidence, and fair balance by the Chair and a peer reviewer who is without conflict of interest.

The opinions expressed herein are those of the faculty and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the CME provider and publisher or the commercial supporter

© Copyright 2022 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.

Faculty Affiliation

Alan Anderson, MD
Banner Alzheimer’s Institute 
Tucson, AZ 


Matthew Malone, DO
Banner Alzheimer’s Institute 
Tucson, AZ 



Financial Disclosure

The CME Institute adheres to the Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME). Any individuals in a position to control the content of a continuing education activity, including faculty, content developers, reviewers, staff, and others, are required to disclose to learners the presence or absence of any relevant financial relationships with an ACCME-defined ineligible company within the preceding 24 months of the activity. The ACCME defines an “ineligible company” as one whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients.

The CME Institute has mitigated all relevant conflicts of interest prior to the commencement of the activity. None of the individuals involved in the content have relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies except the following:

Dr Anderson has served on the speakers/advisory boards for Biogen. 

Dr Malone has no financial disclosures. 

Accredited Provider Disclosure

Michael R. Page, PharmD, RPh
Independent Medical Director/Medical Writer
Plainsboro, New Jersey
Dr. Page is a consultant for BioCentric, Inc. and American Medical Communications, Inc.

None of the other planners, reviewers, and CME Institute staff for this educational activity have relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies to disclose. All relevant financial relationships have been mitigated.

Accreditation Statement

The CME Institute of Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc., is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Credit Designation

The CME Institute of Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc., designates this enduring material for a maximum of 0.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Note: The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) accept certificates of participation for educational activities certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ from organizations accredited by the ACCME.

To obtain credit for this activity, study the material and complete the CME Posttest and Evaluation.

Available Credit

  • 0.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™
  • 0.50 Participation


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