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Vascular Cognitive Impairment

Vascular Cognitive Impairment (VCI) is a disorder that affects a person’s ability to think and remember. VCI is predominately caused by different conditions that interrupt the flow of blood and oxygen supply to the brain and damage blood vessels in the brain. Any of the multiple causes of stroke that impair blood vessels (e.g., hypertension and diabetes)  can contribute to vascular cognitive impairment. 


Who is at risk?

Approximately half of stroke survivors experience cognitive impairment within the first 6 months of injury. In addition, individuals with high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, a history of smoking, history of obesity, and who are sedentary (don’t exercise) are all at risk for VCI and dementia. 

What are the symptoms of VCI? 

    VCI symptoms include problems with attention, memory, language, and executive functioning like problem solving. People who have vascular risk factors or a history of stroke may also be at risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia (ADRD) including vascular dementia. ADRD can cause difficulty with getting dressed and bathing.  

    How do I know if I or my loved one has VCI? 

      There are screening tests that can be performed by your doctor. Your doctor can refer someone who did not pass the screening test to a neuropsychologist who can run a specific battery of tests to check your memory, attention, processing speed, and problem solving.  

      What are the treatment options for VCI? 

        There are no good treatments for VCI but managing vascular risk factors may lead to slower decline. Our institute is recruiting eligible participants for clinical trials that aim to better understand biological and imaging markers that contribute to VCI.  

        Can VCI be prevented? 

          Life's Essential 8 are essential for improving and maintaining heart and brain health, as defined by the American Heart Association. These 8 behaviors are believed to reduce the risk of vascular diseases and VCI. 

          • Eat Better 
          • Be more Active 
          • Quit Tobacco 
          • Get Healthy Sleep 
          • Manage Weight 
          • Control Cholesterol 
          • Manage Blood Sugar 
          • Manage Blood Pressure 

          If you are interested in participating in one of our clinical trials, please contact Dr. Seema Aggarwal (seema.s.aggarwal@uth.tmc.edu) or Heather Smith (heather.smith.1@uth.tmc.edu