Barak Gaster, MD, on How to Identify MCI for Early Intervention

In this video, Barak Gaster, MD, talks about identifying mild cognitive impairment in primary care, a topic he is also speaking about at our Practical Updates in Primary Care 2020 Virtual Series on October 9. 

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Barak Gaster, MD, is a professor of medicine from the Division of General Internal Medicine at the University of Washington.


Barak Gaster: Hi, my name is Barak Gaster. I'm a professor of medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle, and I'm a primary care doctor. So I work in a general internal medicine clinic. But for about five years now, I've been really focused on dementia. So how can we in primary care do a better job of identifying dementia earlier and helping manage this really, really hard, challenging disease.

And it really has just struck me over the years of working on this that within primary care, this is really one of the most difficult situations that we face when patients who we may have known for quite some time are suddenly experiencing impaired cognition. So cognition, that is getting worse with time and this causes a lot of anxiety, and stress, and distress for our patients. And for us, too, because we are really often not very well equipped and how to identify early changes in cognition and how to talk to patients about it.

So really, my session is going to be really focused on within the primary care setting coming from a primary care perspective, how can we do a better job of identifying dementia early. So what is mild cognitive impairment and how do we diagnose it? And once we do, how do we talk to patients about it and really start making a difference in terms of intervening to make our lives better as primary care doctors, and also really but more importantly help to make the lives of our patients better in terms of getting them the intervention and support that they need.