You are here

Early-onset dementia discovery made

Early-onset dementia discovery made
9th October 2012

A key discovery has made in the fight against early-onset dementia.

Researchers at the Gladstone Institutes have found that a protein deficiency may be linked to frontotemporal dementia (FTD).

People are usually diagnosed with FTD - a form of early-onset dementia that is similar to Alzheimer's disease - between the ages of 40 and 65 years of age.

At present, there are no drugs or treatments available to slow, halt or reverse the progression of the condition, with patients typically dying within two and ten years of being diagnosed.

However, the study discovered a protein called progranulin stops a class of cells called microglia becoming hyperactive, which in turn causes abnormally prolonged inflammation of the brain.

Lead author Dr Farese said: "Understanding the inflammatory process in the brain is critical if we are to develop better treatments ... for FTD."

He added the discovery could also help with Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease and multiple sclerosis.

Find out about dementia care and support services at Barchester care homes.