Young onset dementia affecting far more people than first thought

23 Jul 2021

The global prevalence of young-onset dementia (YOD) is significantly higher than previously thought.

On 19th July, JAMA Neurology published a meta-analysis of young-onset dementia seeking to understand the prevalence of young-onset dementia, referring to those who experience symptoms of dementia before the age of 65.

'Global Prevalence of Young-Onset Dementia: a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis' analysed 95 studies, 74 of which contained data of 2,760,379 unique patients. The review found that there are currently 3.9 million people worldwide living with young-onset dementia.

The analysis found that the global age-standardised prevalence of young-onset dementia was 119 per 100 000 population between the ages of 30 and 64, with a gradual increase in prevalence across increasing age brackets. For example, those closer to 30 had a low prevalence (1.1 per 100,000 population aged 30-34 years) whilst those closer to 64 had a far higher prevalence (77.4 per 100 000 population aged 60 to 64 years).

The researchers noted that, despite the high number of studies examined, estimates of the prevalence in low-income countries and younger age ranges remain scarce. This lack of data means that the prevalences found, whilst higher than expected, are probably still underestimations.

Reference: Hendriks S, Peetoom K, Bakker C et al, 'Global Prevalence of Young-Onset Dementia: a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis' 'JAMA Neurol. Published online July 19, 2021, doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2021.2161

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