Early Onset Dementia Traced to Mostly Preventable Adolescent Risk Factors

Hard to think that at 65 you can have dementia. Something
in the wiring going haywire. Some attribute it to genes.
This study suggests otherwise.

From my about.com blog…

I have been running into more and more people who have early onset dementia. It is a sad reality. A new JAMA reports adds perspective.

A study of Swedish men suggests nine risk factors, most of which can be traced to adolescence, account for most cases of young-onset dementia (YOD) diagnosed before the age of 65 years, according to a report published by JAMA Internal Medicine, a JAMA Network publication.

Dementia is a major public health concern that affects an estimated 35.6 million people worldwide. The cost and disability associated with dementia are expected to increase in the next 40 years, affecting more than 115 million people by 2050, Peter Nordstrî¤m, Ph.D, of UmeÌ´ University, Sweden, and colleagues write in the study background.

The study included 488,484 Swedish men conscripted for mandatory military service from September 1969 through December 1979 with an average age of 18 years.
“Young-onset dementia (YOD), that is, dementia diagnosed before 65 years of age, has been related to genetic mutations in affected families. The identification of other risk factors could improve the understanding of this heterogeneous group of syndromes,” the study notes.

During a median follow-up of 37 years, 487 men were diagnosed as having YOD at a median age of 54 years. Significant risk factors for YOD included:

  • alcohol intoxication
  • stroke
  • use of antipsychotics
  • depression
  • father’s dementia
  • drug intoxication other than alcohol
  • low cognitive function at conscription
  • low height at conscription
  • high systolic blood pressure at conscription

Source: JAMA Press Release