Some aspects of getting older are inevitable, and brain aging is one of them. No matter how diligently you care for your brain, a certain amount of change in cognitive function (e.g., struggling to multitask or recall someone’s name) is normal and expected.

However, the line between typical “senior moments” and signs of serious cognitive decline can be somewhat subjective and difficult to define. This intermediate zone between normal brain aging and dementia is called mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and it can be a cause for concern—once signs of MCI begin to crop up, they can progress into dementia (typically in the form of Alzheimer’s disease) at an annual rate of 8% to 15%.

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