Vascular mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a critical disease. Its prognosis includes not only onset of vascular dementia, but also death by cardiovascular disease. The vascular risk factors for vascular MCI are treatable, and appropriate treatment can prevent or delay the progression to dementia. Therefore, this group is an excellent candidate for secondary prevention. However, community-dwelling older adults with vascular MCI are often undetected and are not clinically identified until they develop frank dementia. Furthermore, older adults with undetected vascular MCI often have decreased ability to follow their medication regimens and this poor medication adherence worsens their vascular comorbidities. This vicious cycle needs to be prevented through community-based interventions. There is evidence that treatment of hypertension or diabetes mellitus could lead to a reduced incidence of vascular MCI and dementia. In this review article, we first explain the background and etiology of vascular MCI. We then summarize phenotype of subcortical vascular dementia which is often unrecognized or "hidden" in the community. Then we introduce the Osaki-Tajiri and Kurihara Projects which have been conducted in Northern Japan, as an example of prevention projects aimed to identify early-stage vascular MCI in the community, reduce the risk factors and facilitate their treatment. Early identification of vascular MCI in the community could lead to a large reduction in the dementia burden worldwide. The outreach efforts presented here could be useful in developing secondary prevention strategies targeted to vascular MCI.
Keywords: Community; kurihara project; mild cognitive impairment; tajiri project; vascular MCI; vascular dementia.