Dementia vs MCI

(photo by Neurology Advisor Contributing Writer via

*above is 3 fMRI scans of the brain. It shows the difference in the activity in the brain of a person who has a normal brain, compared to someone who has MCI and another who has Alzheimer’s.

The red is what is where the brain is still active. It decreases less and less with a person who has MCI and/or Alzheimer’s.

A normal part of ageing is the changes in the ability to think.

We develop many thinking abilities as we age and become wiser.

Vocabulary, reading and verbal reasoning can remain unchanged or even improve.

Then what is Dementia?

Dementia is often misinterpreted as a disease.


Dementia is an overall term of a set of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain (Alzheimer’s Society Canada, 2018).

It can be a group of symptoms that show impairments in areas, such as cognitive skills (memory, speech, thinking), functional abilities (daily activities such as dressing, eating, walking) and sometimes in mood and behaviour.

In the simplest terms, dementia is caused by brain cells in key areas dying off.

eg. Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lewy Body disease (are just one of the MANY causes of dementia)

What is MCI?

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is the middle stage between the expected decline of normal ageing and the more serious decline of dementia. It can involve problems with memory, language, thinking and judgment that are greater than normal age-related changes.

From the article, “What are the differences between Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and dementia?,” Sue Lanza explains some studies have shown that “approximately 10-15 percent of all MCI cases seem to develop into some form of dementia.”

What’s the difference between Dementia and MCI?

(photo by Ronald Devere, MD, Fann; Alireza Atri, MD, Ph.D.; Gad A. Marshall, MD; Pierre N. Tariot, MD via

The major difference between MCI and dementia is how the symptoms affect a person’s life. In MCI, symptoms do NOT cause any interference with a person’s daily activities. Compared to dementia, it is seen the symptoms have life disruptions already in place (Sue Lanza, 2020).

In WCHMS’s program, the Smile Brain Program has goals to educate more about these types of situations. We try to prevent people from reaching MCI. Many don’t realize they have or know of the stages of MCI. So, once the stages of dementia hit, it is hard to backtrack the activity in our brains.


The Alzheimer’s Disease Spectrum. (n.d.). Retrieved August 05, 2020, from

What are the Differences between Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and Dementia? (n.d.). Retrieved August 05, 2020, from

What is dementia? (n.d.). Retrieved August 05, 2020, from

Writer, N. (2019, May 08). Amyloid PET Scan Associated With Changes in MCI and Dementia Clinical Management. Retrieved August 05, 2020, from