Early onset dementia rise

A RISE in the number of younger people being diagnosed with dementia will be examined by Sydney researchers in the first such study in Australia.

The lead researcher, Brian Draper, of the school of psychiatry at the University of NSW, said early findings suggested one in 750 Australians may be affected by younger onset dementia (before the age of 65).

Previously published international data estimated the number at one in 1000.

Professor Draper said it was likely that the increase in cases was at least partially a result of the high number of Australians in the baby boomer generation, now aged 48 to 66.

Preliminary research has identified 141 people with younger onset dementia. Those patients had a range of illnesses, including Alzheimer's disease, frontotemporal dementia, brain infections, head injuries, Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis.

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