Awareness and Dementia

Dementia at an earlier age may mean more depression

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Dementia is often believed to be an over 65 problem. Some people develop dementia younger, and it may mean they are more aware of their symptoms.

A recent study found that people who developed dementia before age 65 were more aware of how the symptoms affected their lives.

The more aware people were about their dementia, the more depression symptoms they had.

"Tell your doctor about any depression symptoms."

Deliane van Vliet, MSc, at Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands, and colleagues compared 142 people with young onset Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) to 126 people with late onset AD.

Young onset AD begins before age 65. In late onset AD, symptoms begin after age 65.

Three times over one year, patients and their caregivers were interviewed. They were asked about depression symptoms.

They also answered questions about how aware the people were about their dementia symptoms.

The researchers found that people with late onset AD were almost twice as likely as those with young onset AD to have some loss of awareness about their condition.

People who developed AD earlier were more likely to retain awareness about their condition.

Having awareness about their condition was linked with depression symptoms, and the link was stronger for people with young onset AD.

Awareness was not related to anxiety symptoms.

The authors concluded that caregivers and doctors can be prepared for mood problems that may come along with awareness in young onset AD.

This study was published September 18 in Alzheimer’s Disease and Associated Disorders.  The journal website did not have funding information.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
September 27, 2012
Last Updated:
October 1, 2012