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More attention should be paid to dementia at an early age

Dementia is mainly related to aging

Research conducted by the Alzheimer’s Center Limburg in Maastricht UMC+ shows for the first time that 14,000-17,000 people in the Netherlands suffer from dementia at an early age (before their 65th birthday). According to the researchers, more attention is needed to this condition, which has a significant impact on patients and their environment.

Dementia is mainly related to aging. However, dementia can also affect young adults. Dementia can be caused by many different conditions. They all have in common that they lead to changes in cognitive functioning, behavior or feelings that increasingly limit a person’s daily life. Examples include memory, language limitations, performing actions, or processing or understanding information.

Depending on the form of dementia, other notable symptoms appear. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia at an early age, often have limited ability to maintain a general outlook and have problems acting or illustrating themselves. Frontotemporal dementia, a form that occurs more often in young people than in the elderly, is primarily characterized by changes in behavior, personality, emotions or language problems.

unknown problem
Dementia is often diagnosed after a long period of time due to the specific manifestations of young age. It is often thought that someone is stressed, depressed, or has relationship problems. For patients and their families, this often means a long period of uncertainty, uncertainty, misunderstanding and grief. It is also important from a social point of view that it is clear how serious the problem of dementia is at an early age.

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With the aim of doing more and better research on dementia at a young age, the PRECODE project was started under the leadership of Professor F. Dr.. De Vogt of the Alzheimer’s Center Limburg in Maastricht UMC+. This project investigates the prevalence (what the numbers are) and the incidence (number of new cases in a period) of dementia at an early age.

international numbers
One of the sub-studies of the PRECODE project is a meta-analysis of the international scientific literature on the incidence and prevalence of dementia in young adults. This indicates that approximately 4 million people worldwide have developed dementia at an early age. This means that between 14,000 and 17,000 people develop dementia at an early age in the Netherlands.

Researcher Stevie Hendricks on the topic: “Our numbers show that this relates to a large group of people who deserve special attention in science and care. Not only to make a diagnosis on time, but also to provide appropriate care and support. It is a good step that dementia at such a young age has It also has an important place in the National Dementia Strategy 2021-2030 for the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports.”

The study was published in the scientific journal JAMA Neurology on July 19, 2121

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Name of author and/or editor by: Maastricht UMC +
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Original title: More attention to dementia at an early age
the target audience: Healthcare professionals
Date: 2021-07-21
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