Purpose of review: Young-onset dementia (YOD) refers to a dementia for which symptom onset occurs below the age of 65. This review summarizes the recent literature in this area, focusing on updates in epidemiology, diagnosis and service provision.
Recent findings: In the last year, internationally, the prevalence of YOD was reported as 119 per 100 000, but this may vary according to population types. Although the commonest causes of YOD are Alzheimer's disease (AD) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), there is increasing recognition that YOD is diagnostically and phenotypically broader than AD and FTD. YOD may be due to many other diseases (e.g. Huntington's disease, vascular dementia) whereas accumulation of the same protein (e.g. amyloid protein) may lead to different phenotypes of Alzheimer's disease (such as posterior cortical atrophy and behavioural-variant/frontal-variant AD). This heterogeneity of phenotypic presentation is also seen in YOD due to known genetic mutations. Biomarkers such as plasma and cerebrospinal fluid proteins, neuroimaging and genetics have shown promise in the early identification of YOD as well as providing further understanding behind the overlap between psychiatric and neurodegenerative conditions occurring in younger people. The management of YOD needs to consider age-specific issues for younger people with dementia and their family networks together with better integration with other health services such as aged, disability and improved access to services and financial assistance.
Summary: These findings emphasize the need for early identification and appropriate age-specific and person-centred management for people with young-onset dementia.
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