News on Early onset dementia signs and symptoms ….
Medical research at the Mayo Clinic discovered the origins of early onset dementia. The study involved 235 subjects between 17 and 45 years old. They had been clinically diagnosed with early-onset dementia.
After analyzing each patient’s medical records, Mayo Clinic doctors found… that less than two percent of the dementia subjects. Under 45 years old could attribute dementia signs to Alzheimer’s disease.
Frontotemporal dementia accounted for one-third of the memory loss… seen in the subject group. With another 20 percent suffering from… inflammatory and autoimmune disorders.
Slightly more than 10 percent were experiencing metabolic abnormalities. These contributed to short term memory loss.
So, doctors investigating early onset dementia signs and symptoms … could not establish a distinct cause for the disease.
Familial Alzheimer’s Disease
Early onset familial Alzheimer’s disease, FAD is responsible for 50 percent… of all early onset Alzheimer’s disease cases. It usually affects people under 65 years old and older than 50. Caused by an inherited autosomal dominant gene. This gene is passed among first degree relatives. FAD produces symptoms that are the same as traditional signs of Alzheimer’s disease, such as:
- losing items that should not normally be misplaced (car keys, house keys, purses, etc)
- Difficulty performing everyday tasks
- Distinct personality changes. Someone who is usually even-tempered might start acting irritable and contrary.
- Executing poor judgment when faced with important personal and financial decisions
- Confusion exacerbated by short term memory loss
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Inability to complete a sentence or communicate rationally
Early onset dementia affects people who are in their late 40s and 50s. The level of physical disability is reduced. This in comparison to older patients suffering from signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
Genetics of Familial Alzheimer’s Disease
A mutation in the APP, or amyloid precursor protein gene, is thought to be the origin of FAD. Research has uncovered a vast amount of valuable information regarding Alzheimer’s dementia. Neuroscientists still do not know the exact etiology of the disease. They continue to focus on identifying early onset dementia genes.
Certain non-genetic factors have are thought to strongly influence the … emergence of memory loss and other cognitive issues in FAD cases.
These factors include:
- Factors we cannot change. Ethnicity, age, health condition at birth and early growth and development
- Modifiable factors like socioeconomic level and medical issues (obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes
- Degree of intellectual and physical enrichment that the patient’s environment provides
Alzheimer’s researchers are certain that environmental and health factors interact with genes. These factors generate the “trigger” needed to express that gene. Science is exploring the complexities of the gene-environment connection in Alzheimer’s disease. It is challenging and requires extensive longitudinal studies.
Clinical and Laboratory Testing for Early Onset Dementia
Receiving an accurate and timely diagnosis of FAD is critical. Starting on medications, as soon as possible, to inhibit progression of the disease.
Also undergoing thorough cognitive and physical examinations
Symptomatic and non-symptomatic patients can also participate in genetic testing. This will distinguish the presence of genetic mutations indicative of Alzheimer’s.
Number 1, 14, and 21 chromosomal genes are correlated with … early onset types of Alzheimer’s dementia. Individuals possessing mutations within these genes.. Will probably develop AD before the age of 65.
A fourth gene… located on chromosome 19 (APOE-e4),… is associated with the development of late-onset Alzheimer’s dementia. This is in patients over 65 years old.
Those who are found to have two copies instead of one copy of this gene… may have a greater risk of experiencing Alzheimer’s in their later years.
People carrying these genetic mutations may not necessarily suffer from AD.
Psychological and lifestyle modifications such as:
Eating a heart-healthy diet
Engaging in stimulating intellectual activity
Learning how to reduce stress may lower the risk of developing signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
Non-Medical Problems of Familial Alzheimer’s Disease
Not eligible for Social Security Retirement
Unrelated to dementia symptoms the progression of early onset dementia… is the inability for someone to be eligible for social security retirement income. They are not able to continue work and earning a living. People with disabilities can file a claim with the Social Security Administration. The government is slow to respond. People are subjected to waiting up to two years before receiving benefits.
For people with early onset dementia… waiting that long for financial help is not workable. Some people may experience a steady and rapid decline following a diagnosis of FAD. They find they can no longer work soon after learning of the diagnosis.
The U.S. Social Security Administration has recognized this growing problem. Congress enacted the Compassionate Allowances program in 2008. This allows for expedited financial assistance in special circumstances. FAD being one of them.
For more information about the Compassionate Allowances program, visit the Social Security Administration. For instructions regarding rules and regulations governing the program.