Familiarity, knowledge, and preferences of family physicians regarding mild cognitive impairment

Int Psychogeriatr. 2013 May;25(5):805-13. doi: 10.1017/S1041610212002384. Epub 2013 Jan 25.


Background: Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a common condition among elderly persons. Its early identification is important because MCI can be a precursor of dementia. Since physicians' knowledge and preferences regarding MCI can be critical in its identification, this study assessed family physicians' familiarity, knowledge, and preferences regarding help-seeking, diagnosis, and treatment options for MCI.

Method: A convenience sample of 197 family physicians working in one of the largest Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) in Israel completed a structured questionnaire. Familiarity, knowledge, and preferences regarding diagnosis, help-seeking, and treatment of MCI were assessed.

Results: The majority of the participants had heard about MCI but a third of those familiar with the term reported knowing almost nothing about it. Participants' objective knowledge was good regarding several causes of MCI, but 70% reported it to be caused by normal aging. Help-seeking and treatment preferences corresponded with the literature on MCI.

Conclusion: Our findings stress the need to broaden the understanding of primary care physicians' knowledge and preferences regarding MCI. This research can guide in developing continuous education programs to strengthen areas and groups of physicians reporting low knowledge.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Clinical Competence / statistics & numerical data
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / diagnosis*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / psychology
  • Dementia / diagnosis*
  • Dementia / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Israel
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physicians, Family*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Primary Health Care
  • Surveys and Questionnaires