“Dementia is a major public health concern that is a growing burden owing to an ageing society. However, the high prevalence of dementia in the elderly can overshadow the importance of its occurrence in younger patients. Young-onset dementias can present a substantial diagnostic challenge but can also provide important biological insights that might also be applicable to the more common presentation in older patients. For example, the high prevalence of inherited dementias in younger age-groups has led to the identification of causative genes and subsequent molecular pathology of direct relevance to the more common sporadic disease seen in older patients. The prospect of future treatments targeted at the specific molecular pathological changes of the different dementias makes precise diagnosis essential. In this Review, we discuss the differences between young onset and late onset for the four major dementia diseases: Alzheimer’s disease, vascular disease, frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), and dementia with Lewy bodies. We also suggest a structured approach to the choice of investigations, building on the “dementia plus” concept; this concept exploits the fact that many of the diseases that cause dementia in young adults also cause additional neurological or systemic features, and the identification of these features can aid diagnosis. A diagnosis of dementia often attracts therapeutic nihilism and so we also include examples of treatable dementias that commonly present to young-onset dementia clinics.”
Lancet Neurol. 2010 Aug;9(8):793-806. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(10)70159-9.
The diagnosis of young-onset dementia.
Rossor MN1, Fox NC, Mummery CJ, Schott JM, Warren JD.