A cross-sectional study of aged patients with mild cognitive impairment in a local community was undertaken to investigate the clinical features of the condition, in addition to a longitudinal study to research its progression to cognitive deficit. Impairment of the basic functions of attention and executive function was confirmed, as opposed to impairment in the cognitive domain itself. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings showed a pattern close to that of healthy persons in their 80s, rather than that of patients with cognitive deficit. The results of the longitudinal study showed more progression to cognitive deficit when the clinical dementia rating was 0.5 in domains other than memory. No effects of lifestyle, internal diseases or psychosocial intervention were confirmed. In progression to Alzheimer's disease, generally low cognitive function and general atrophy were involved, whereas frontal lobe function, atrophy of the frontal and temporal lobes, white matter changes and cerebral infarction were related to progression to vascular dementia. Excessive dependence on primary prevention should be avoided for aged patients with mild cognitive impairment; rather, secondary prevention, using clinical dementia rating, psychological testing and MRI are desirable.