Early-Onset Dementia Not Uncommon

On September 12 in D.C., congressional staffers and federal scientists heard from neurology experts about the occurrence of dementia, and steps being taking to diagnose and treat the different types. The Capitol Hill briefings are part of a series organized by AAAS and funded by the Dana Foundation.

On hand at the event were Dana Alliance members Murray Grossman, M.D., and Patrick Griffith, M.D., F.A.A.N. Grossman discussed early-onset dementia, pointing out that it is not uncommon. AAAS reports:

Young-onset dementia—a progressive decline in mental processes that is severe enough to interfere with job performance and social functioning in those less than 65 years of age—is not rare, Grossman said. Two community surveys found incidence rates of 1 in 2000 for those between the ages of 30 and 65 and 1 in 1000 for ages 45 to 65.

In Griffith’s talk, he focused on the alarmingly high rate of Alzheimer’s disease among African Americans, and contributing reasons. According to the AAAS:

[this population is] 2.5 times more likely than whites to be affected by Alzheimer’s disease….African Americans also tend to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at later stages of the disease, Griffith said, and cases of early-onset dementia, both for Alzheimer’s and other disorders, may be missed.

For more details on the event and the discussion, please visit the AAAS report, which includes presentation slides from Grossman and Griffith. You can also read about the previous briefings on mental illness in young adults, and the links between poverty and brain development.

–Ann L. Whitman

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