Posted on 09/11/2012

Dementia Gene Found in One Third of Teenagers?

Dementia Gene Found in One Third of Teenagers?

According to recent reports, a ‘dementia gene’ has been found in one third of teenagers. The reports were based on a study that was set up to explore the effects of genetic mutation, PSEN1 E280A, which causes early-onset Alzheimer’s. Inaccurate headlines from both the Daily Mail and the Express followed stating that this research helps to ‘predict the disease 20 years before devastating symptoms strike’ (Daily Mail).

The mutation, which causes symptoms of Alzheimer’s to appear before the age of 65, is rare in European populations, with the Alzheimer’s Society estimating that there are fewer than 1 in 1,000 cases in the UK.

The research compared results of blood tests, brain scans and cerebrospinal fluid from young subjects with the genetic mutation to those without. The carriers had structural and functional brain differences with elevated levels of protein that form the deposits characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease in both the blood and cerebrospinal fluid.

Present in patients aged between 18 and 26 years old, two decades before any symptoms of mild cognitive impairment which is often associated with early-onset Alzheimer’s, the findings suggest brain changes may begin years before the onset of the disease become symptomatic.

As the study was very small and focussed on a hereditary form of Alzheimer’s, it is unclear whether these findings could apply to other patients who may develop the more common form of the disease, later in life. With no definitive prevention methods as of yet – further research will hopefully assist with the early detection and prevention of the disease.

NRS stock a range of dementia aids to assist with daily living. From books to plates, grab rails to therapeutic games, we have a great selection of products available. Please feel free to browse our site or contact a member of our team to find out more.

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