Background: The rarity of young-onset dementia (YOD), the broad differential diagnosis and unusual clinical presentations present unique challenges to correctly recognize the condition and establish an accurate diagnosis. Limited data exist regarding clinical features associated with dementia prior to the age of 45. Methods: We retrospectively assessed cognitive and noncognitive neurological characteristics of 235 patients who presented for evaluation of YOD to investigate the clinical characteristics of YOD compared to later-onset dementias and to identify clinical features associated with specific etiologies that may aid in the evaluation of YOD. Results: Multiple cognitive domains were affected in most patients, and no significant differences in affected domains existed between groups. Early psychiatric and behavioral features occurred at very high frequencies. Nearly 80% of this YOD cohort had additional noncognitive symptoms or signs as a feature of their disease. Chorea was strongly associated with Huntington disease. Parkinsonism was not seen in patients having an autoimmune/inflammatory etiology. Conclusions: The rarity of YOD and the high frequency of early psychiatric features led to frequent misdiagnosis early in the clinical course. The high frequency of noncognitive symptoms and signs may aid clinicians in distinguishing patients requiring a more extensive evaluation for YOD.
- Cognitive decline, age of onset
- Presenile dementia, clinical features
- Young-onset dementia
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geriatrics and Gerontology
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Psychiatry and Mental health