Background: Increasing efforts are being devoted to the study of early onset dementia (EOD), namely dementia in persons under the age of 65. Until recently, it was assumed that dementia occurs primarily among people aged 65 and over. However, since the number of persons with EOD is increasing, its importance as a clinical and social problem is rising accordingly. The aim of the present paper is to summarize research in this area.
Methods: We reviewed the research published to date on EOD, and divided the current body of knowledge into several main sections.
Results: The first section focuses on clinical aspects and summarizes findings regarding prevalence, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and management of persons with EOD. The second section focuses on social aspects related to the cost of care for young people with the disease, the challenges faced by individuals and caregivers, and the services available for this population. Finally, conclusions and future directions are suggested.
Conclusions: Research on EOD is still in its early stages. There is an urgent need to expand research that will lead to more effective diagnosis and management of EOD as well as to the allocation of funds and the development of appropriate services suitable for the unique needs of young people with dementia.