Do you have Mild Cognitive Impairment?

Chances are you don’t.

But if you were unlucky enough to have gone through this quiz from Biogen & Eisai, chances are you will be left wondering: perhaps I DO have Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) after all!

MCI is a nebulous diagnosis because it hinges on the definition of ‘mild’. What is mild for someone may be significant for others. Nevertheless, that has not stopped these companies from trying to plant the idea in your head that you may have MCI.

I tried taking the quiz myself. There are 6 questions on topics like forgetting important appointments and social events, trouble navigating around familiar places etc. Being curious, I answered ‘Never‘ to 5 of them, and ‘Almost Never‘ to the statement ‘Losing train of thought or the thread of conversations, books, or movies’.

I mean, come on man, who doesn’t occasionally lose their train of thought when faced with a really boring situation?

Nevertheless, I was told:

Here are your responses to the Know Your Symptoms Quiz. Even if you answered “Never” or “Almost Never” to all questions, it’s important to stay on top of your cognitive health. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have and ask if cognitive screening is right for you.

Okaaayyy, I need to talk to my doctor about possible cognitive impairment. Oh wait, I’M THE DOCTOR looking after people with cognitive impairment! Damnnn…

In reality, most of these concerns are so general that they’re practically useless for diagnosing MCI. Of course, the quiz itself comes with the following caveat:

This quiz is not intended for use in the diagnosis of disease or other condition, or in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease. Answers to this quiz may help you identify some symptoms that you are experiencing so you can talk with your doctor. Remember to talk to your doctor about any concerns you have about your cognitive health and ask if cognitive screening is right for you.

As someone quipped in the comments section for this Ars Technica article ‘Maker of dubious $56K Alzheimer’s drug offers cognitive test no one can pass‘:

Well shit, I’ve apparently had Alzheimer’s since I was eight years old.

You really have to ask the question: why even bother with the quiz then? I wonder if it has anything to do with a certain $56,000/year drug that has NOT been shown to work in Alzheimer’s disease? Go figure.