Young onset dementia and general practice – identifying symptoms before diagnosis
Our webinar at 12.30-1.30pm on Wednesday 16th November 2022 focused on the first symptoms of young onset dementia, how to increase their recognition and better identify people with young onset dementia at an earlier stage.
There are over 70,800 people estimated to be living with young onset dementia in the UK, 3.9 million globally. Many experience a long wait for a diagnosis. Research has shown that the average time for a young onset dementia diagnosis, where symptoms emerge before the age of 65, is 4.4 years compared to 2.8 years in late onset dementia.
The first symptoms of young onset dementia are diverse and can differ from late onset. Symptoms can range from orientation or planning problems to changes in behaviour, personality or language ability – memory loss may not be reported. Recognising the symptoms presents a challenge to the person, their family and to general practitioners.
In this webinar, Professor Marjolein de Vugt and Dr Stevie Hendriks from the Netherlands, presented the results of a recent study on pre-diagnostic symptoms of young onset dementia. This was a case-control study investigating which symptom categories were more common in people with young onset dementia in the years before diagnosis. The results of this study give insight into the first symptoms of young onset dementia and how to increase their recognition and encourage more detailed research to better identify people with young onset dementia at an earlier stage.
Diane Smith Harris, a family member of a person who lived with young onset dementia, and Dr Sara Humphrey, a GP based in Bradford, also shared their views.
Professor Marjolein de Vugt, Professor Psychosocial Innovations in Dementia and Director of the Alzheimer Center Limburg at Maastricht University Medical Center, the Netherlands.
Dr Stevie Hendriks, postdoctoral researcher on young onset dementia, Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, Alzheimer Centre Limburg at Maastricht University Medical Center, the Netherlands.
Professor de Vugt and Dr Hendriks are members of the Young Onset Dementia Knowledge Center, a network of organisations committed to excellent care and support of younger people with dementia in the Netherlands.
You can view the PowerPoint slides from the webinar here.