Get exclusive member benefits & effect social change. Join Today
Multi-infarct dementia (MID) is a type of vascular dementia. It occurs when a series of small strokes causes a loss of brain function. A stroke, or brain infarct, occurs when the blood flow to any part of the brain is interrupted or blocked. Blood carries oxygen to the brain, and without oxygen, brain tissue quickly dies.
The location of the stroke damage determines the type of symptoms that occur. MID can cause a loss of memory and cognitive function and can initiate psychological problems. Treatment focuses on controlling the symptoms and reducing the risk for future strokes.
The symptoms of MID may appear gradually over time, or they may occur suddenly after a stroke. Some people will appear to improve and then decline again after they have more small strokes.
The early symptoms of dementia include:
More obvious symptoms appear as dementia progresses. These can include:
MID is caused by a series of small strokes. A stroke, or infarct, is the interruption or blockage of blood flow to any part of the brain. The term "multi-infarct" means many strokes and many areas of damage. If blood flow is stopped for more than a few seconds, brain cells can die from a lack of oxygen. This damage is usually permanent.
A stroke can be silent, which means it affects such a small area of the brain that it goes unnoticed. Over time, many silent strokes can lead to MID. Large strokes that cause noticeable physical and neurological symptoms can also lead to MID.
MID generally occurs in people aged 55 to 75 years and is more common in men than in women.
Medical conditions that increase the risk of MID include:
The following are lifestyle risk factors for MID:
There’s not a specific test that can determine MID. Each case of MID is different. Memory can be seriously impaired in one person and only mildly impaired in another person.
Diagnosis is often made based on:
Radiological imaging tests can include:
Your doctor may also order tests to rule out other conditions that may cause or contribute to dementia, such as
Treatment will be tailored to your individual needs. Most treatment plans include medication and lifestyle changes.
Medications may include:
Herbal supplements have grown in popularity as treatments for MID. However, not enough studies have been done to prove that their use is successful. Examples of herbal supplements that are currently being studied for use in treating MID include:
Be sure to discuss these supplements with your doctor before taking them, as they can interfere with other medications.
Other options for treatment include regular exercise to build muscle strength, cognitive training to regain mental function, and rehabilitation for mobility issues.
MID has no cure. Medications and cognitive training may help preserve mental function. The speed and advance of dementia varies. Some people die soon after an MID diagnosis, and others survive for years.
There’s no evidence of any effective measure to avoid MID. As with many conditions, the best prevention method is to take care of your body. You should:
Written by: Lydia Krause
Medically reviewed on: Mar 16, 2016: University of Illinois-Chicago, College of Medicine
Enter your symptoms in our Symptom Checker to find out possible causes of your symptoms. Go.
Enter any list of prescription drugs and see how they interact with each other and with other substances. Go.
Enter its color and shape information, and this tool helps you identify it. Go.
Find information on drug interactions, side effects, and more. Go.